Date: 17 Aug 1961
Frederick Fewster died from a fractured skull following a long period of unconsciousness.
He had been involved in a dispute with an engine driver on 22 July 1961 at about 11.15pm at the corner of Rothbury Terrace with Chillingham Road in Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne during which his skull was fractured.
A man that lived in Rothbury Terrace said that he heard voices outside his home, but not raised in argument, and that he then looked out of his window. He said, 'I saw two men standing on the corner. The man facing me hit the man with his back to me and the struck man fell straight backwards. the man who hit him went away'. He said that after that a man came to where Frederick Fewster was lying and that he was soon after joined by another man, but said that he could not say definitely whether either of the men had been the one that had hit Frederick Fewster.
He said that they then lifted Frederick Fewster, adding, 'They let him slip and he hit the pavement again harder than the first time'.
His wife said, 'It sounded like a coconut being cracked'.
Frederick Fewster was soon after taken to the Newcastle General Hospital where he died on 17 August 1961.
When a detective inspector questioned the engine driver, the engine driver said, 'I know. I was there. I struck him, but he struck me first'. After he was cautioned he said, 'I just slapped him. It was more of a push than anything else'.
After hearing the evidence the Coroner returned an open verdict and told the engine driver to watch his drinking, adding, 'I and the jury have no doubt that you struck this man. You are very fortunate. You might have been on your way to Durham prison on a charge of manslaughter. I am saying this so that you watch your conduct in future. You must also watch your drinking'.
Following the inquest the engine driver said, 'I have been unable to work since this business started. I have lost two stone in weight. This is a great load off my mind'.
Frederick Fewster had been a labourer.
see Newcastle Journal - Friday 27 October 1961