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Fatal Accident to Octogenarian

Joseph Belsey
1836 - 1917

News Headlines
Knocked down by a Motor Car in West Street

The County Coroner for this district(Mr CB Harris) investigated last Friday morning, in the Board Room at the Guardians' Institution,
the death of Joseph Belsey, aged 80 years, which was recorded in our last issue. The deceased, who resided at 3 West Street, was
crossing the street opposite his home at mid-day on Thursday, the 4th inst-, when he was knocked down by a motor car driven by James
Waters, a chauffeur in the employ of Mr Percy Black, of the Preston Street Garage. He was removed to the Infirmary where
he died on Monday, the 8th. The circumstances were exhaustively gone into by the Coroner, and the jury found that the mishap was accidental.

Mr Percy Black was represented at the inquiry by Mr Arthur Smith (Messrs. Smith and Payn. solicitors).

Christian Belsey, a stoker petty officer in the Navy, stated that the deceased was his father. He was in his 81st year and
resided at 3 West Street. Formaerly he was a farm labourer. His sight was moderately good for
his age, but he was a little deaf at times.

Miss EM Fox, who assists her uncle, Mr AB Fox baker, West Street (opposite No3) said that on Thursday, the 4th inst,. the deceased
came across to their shop to make a purchase shortly before 1 o clock. After serving him ahe followed him to the door to let him out, as
she generally did in the case of old people and she told himto wait a minute as there was a motor car coming up the street. Whether he
did not hear her she could not say, but he made no reply, and after taking one step down the street, in the direction in which the car
was approaching, he started to go across. He went at his usual pace until apparantly he saw the car, then he hesitated a moment or two and
then went on again. Hw had got one foot on the opposite kerb when the car struck him and he was dragged beneath it and carried a short distance
up the street. The car was only going at a moderate pace. Witness did not hear any horn sounded.

Asked by the Coroner if she thought there was any blame attaching to the driver of the car, witness said she did not know.

Dr. FW Gange said he saw the deceased in West Street just after the occurrence and ordered his removal to the Infirmmary where
examined him the same afternoon. He founed a lacerated wound on the right forearm, a small scalp wound. an abrasion on the
right leg, and several brokem ribs, and the deceased was suffering a good deal from shock. Owing to his age he was not in a condition to
stand very much. The injuries, however, were not sufficient to kill a personin good health, apart from age and in firmity, and but fo the fact
that deceased was a very old man witness thought he would have recovered. Indeed he went on very well for a while and looked like
recovering, but he died suddenly on the 8th from heart failure.

James Henry Durie Waters the driver of the motor car(who wished to give his account of the occurrence), said he was driving a 20 h-p
four-seater Ford car, and was returning from Uplees at the time with two passengers inside and one on the seat beside him. Coming up
West Street he eased up to pass a van which was standing just outside Mr Fox's shop. He saw deceased walking across the street
and blew his horn four times in succession. The deceased got half-way and then looked up towards witness, hesitated and drew back.
Witness pulled out to his off side hopong to clear him, but the deceased unfortunately came on again and the car struck him and knocked
him down. Witness put on his brakes and came to a standstill in the length of the car-he was only going at about seven miles an hour
at the time. The deceased, was dragged under the car, but the wheels did not go over him.

The Coroner remarked that no driver ought to go fast in such a street as West Street.

In replying to questions, the witness said he was only about eight yards from the deceased
when he first caught sight of him. he did his best to avoid the accident.

Replying to Mr Arthur Smith, Waters said he had been driving daily for nearly two years, and had a clean record.

Charles Roe Kirby, who was riding in the car alongside the driver, said he did not see the deceased until they were practically on top
of him. He corroborated the driver's statement that he blew his horn and estimated the speed of the car at abour six miles an hour. He
said they had to pull up a number of times coming up West Street, in fact they were only crawling along all the way up the street. In his
opinion no blame for the occurrence attached to the driver; it was purely an accident. The deceased stood still and hesitated. If he had
remained stationary the driver would have cleared him.

Mr George Chapman, fishmonger, West Street, corroborated as to the speed of the car. He said he saw it pass his shop and
should say it was going at from six to seven miles an hour.

Deceased's son said his father told him he did not see the car coming or hear anything; the only thing he remembered was being struck.

The Coroner remarked that that was often the case in circumstances of the kind; people lost
their recollection of what happened immediately previous.

A verdict of "death from heart failure following injuries sustained through being accidentally knocked down
by a motor car" was returned.

Mr Arthur Smith expressed Mr Black's deep sorrow for the accident and his sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

Notice in the Next Days Paper

ACCIDENT;-At 1 o'clock yesterday (Thursday) afternoon Joseph Belsey, aged 81, of 3 West Street, was knocked down opposite
his home by a motor car, driven by James Waters, in the employ of Mr Percy C Black. It appears that Belsey had just come
out of Mr Fox's baker shop and though he was warned by the assitant Mary Fox to wait on the path he stepped
into the road. The driver of the car, which was going at a very moderate pace, sounded his horn several times and jammed on his brakes, but was too late to
avoid a collision and the front of the car struck Belsey, dragging him between the front and back axle. with assistance he was taken to
his home and seen by Dr Gange, who ordered his removal to the Infirmary, which was carried out by Sergeant Wiseman on
an ambulance. It was there found that in addition to a wound on the right side of the head and a lacerated wound on the right orearm he was
suffering from other injuries and shock.
This morning's report is that he is a little better

To see a few more photos of the Belsey Family