Unsolved Murders

James Henry Grobbeler

Age: 53

Sex: male

Date: 13 Apr 1961

Place: Fulham Road, Fulham Court, London

James Henry Grobbeler died five days after he was hit by a motor-scooter in Fulham Road near Fulham Court.

No trace of the motor-scooter or its rider were found.

James Grobbeler had been a machinist and had lived in Epirus Flats in Fulham.

He said that he had stepped from the pavement to the kerb to allow some people to pass when he was hit.

His son who lived with him said that on 8 April 1961 that James Grobbeler had gone out to a shop at about 4.30pm and didn't return until 8pm at which time he complained that he had been hit by a motor-scooter and had fallen onto the kerb in terrific pain.

His son, a paint sprayer, said, 'He said he was walking home when several women approached him with a pram. He said he stepped to the edge of the kerb for them to pass and as he did so the windshield of a motor-scooter or the arm of a person on it struck him and spun him over'.

A policeman that was called out to James Grobbeler's home said, 'I was walking on the north side of Fulham Road almost opposite Fulham Court when I stepped from the pavement on to the kerb to let some women pass. The next thing I knew the scooter hit me and I fell on to the roadway'.

He said that James Grobbeler had seemed to be in great pain and he was taken by ambulance to hospital.

The policeman then went to the scene of the accident but said that he could find no trace of any marks, skid marks, or any witnesses.

James Grobbeler's doctor who had lived in Lillie Road said that James Grobbeler had had his left kidney removed and that he had a stone in the right one. He said that at one time James Grobbeler had had to inject as many as 14 grains of morphine a day but that that was later reduced to a quarter of a grain daily. He noted that the injections had never resulted in James Grobbeler having had hallucinations.

His son noted that James Grobbeler had been an invalid since 1941 and had been taking the morphine for 14 years to deaden the pain of his kidney.

A doctor that examined James Grobbeler at Fulham Hospital said that on admission he was diagnosed as having a ruptured kidney and that he died five days later.

The pathologist that carried out the post mortem said that his cause of death was due to kidney failure as a result of a stone in the kidney, accelerated by laceration of the kidney, adding that a fall could have caused the laceration.

A police inspector said that after the accident that he instructed police cars with loud-hailers to patrol the area of the accident broadcasting for witnesses. He said that there was also a BBC broadcast for witnesses and that they made house to house inquiries at Fulham Court and Fulham Road. However, he said that none of that resulted in any witnesses or the driver of the motor-scooter being traced.

When the Coroner summed up he said that it had been impossible to obtain any kind of information about what had happened to James Grobbeler and that it would be improper simply to take his statement without confirmation from the driver of the motor-scooter or a passer-by. He noted that a great deal of trouble had been taken to find eye-witnesses, but without success, noting that to a passer-by it may have seemed to have been not much more than a stumble.

As such, he said that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to decide the circumstances of the accident and that the proper decision was to return an open verdict which was done.

It was noted in summation that it might have been an act of politeness when he had stepped aside the pavement to allow the women with a pram to pass that had cost him his life.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Kensington Post - Friday 12 May 1961

see Fulham Chronicle - Friday 05 May 1961