Date: 12 Feb 1953
Peter Pett was found unconscious on a grass verge near the gates of Ryefields in East Ashling by a man that lived there when he returned home at 10pm on 12 February 1953.
He was taken to hospital where he later died. A doctor said that his death was due to a fractured skull.
It was thought that Peter Pett had had some kind of incident on his motorcycle that resulted in his crashing into a tree, but it was not known what, and an open verdict was returned.
Peter Pett had been an agricultural engineer and had lived in Parklands Road, Chichester.
The wife of the man that found Peter Pett said that she had earlier heard a bump from the direction of the road at about 9.45pm, noting that she heard no other traffic.
Peter Pett's father said that Peter Pett left home at 7.30pm and thought that he was going to visit his girlfriend in Bosham.
His inquest heard that it was a mystery as to what had caused him to leave the road with such force that his impact with the tree was heard by the woman in Ryefields.
It was also not known what he had done in the two and a quarter hours after he left home. It was suggested that he might have spent it riding about on his motorcycle which had just been re-conditioned to test it and that he might have been caught by a sudden gust of wind.
However, the exact cause of his death was not known and an open verdict was returned.
see West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 26 February 1953