Unsolved Murders

William John Medland

Age: 54

Sex: male

Date: 16 Sep 1941

Place: Ivybridge Road, Ivybridge

William John Medland was knocked down by a vehicle on the main Ivybridge Road.

He was a farm labourer and lived at 18 Park Street in Ivybridge and worked at Battisford Farm in Plympton.

He was found seriously injured on the main Ivybridge Road on 16 September 1941 by a signalman that had been driving from Totness to Plymouth. The man said that he had passed through Ivybridge and found William Medland in a hedge by the road about 200 yards further on as he was descending a slope. He said that he drove on some distance and then stopped and turned around and went back. When he got back to the spot he found that another motorist had arrived there before him.

The signalman said that shortly before he saw an approaching vehicle swerve out around and a small light that he had seen there suddenly went out. He said that at the time he thought that it was someone throwing a cigarette away, and upon reflection realised that it was probably the light of William Medland's pedal cycle.

A labourer who lived in Victoria Street in Plymouth said that he had been given a lift at the Laira roundabout by a lorry. He said that it was an open truck kind and said that he was able to identify the driver. The driver had been present at the inquest the day before and lived in Torquay. The labourer said that there had been a woman passenger in the lorry and that she had kept lighting cigarettes for the driver. He said that the driver overtook everything possible and was driving too fast for the black-out. The labourer said that he got out at Lee Mill and later went to Torquay to identify the lorry drivers lorry and said that he was able to identify the lorry there as the one that he had ridden in.

A policeman said that he examined the lorry that the labourer said that he had ridden in and said that he found marks similar to blood, hair and pieces of skin on it. He said that he also found a piece of blue fibre that had come from a coat.

The lorry driver, who was 32-years-old and lived in Egerton Road in Torquay said that he had been driving from Looe to Torquay but said that he had no recollection of any incident. He said that he gave a lift to more than one person but had no recollection of picking up the labourer. A woman that lived with the lorry driver said that she had been in the lorry and that she had lit several cigarettes for the lorry driver.

When the coroner summed up he said that he was forced to the conclusion that the labourer had taken a ride with the lorry driver and the woman, but said that there was nothing to show that the lorry was the vehicle that had collided with William Medland.

The corner concluded by saying that William Medland met his death as the result of injuries received after being in collision with a vehicle, the driver of which he said, 'very callously drove on'.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Western Morning News - Saturday 25 October 1941, p6