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Wright exonerated from woman’s death

Mr. Ernest Victor Wright (Vic Wright), a professional footballer, of Rectory Lane, Chelmsford, was exonerated from blame at an inquest held at the Shire Hall, Chelmsford, on Monday [15 August], by Mr. Coroner L.F. Beccle and a jury.

The inquest was on Mrs. Alice Hills, aged 50, of Seventh Avenue, widow of Arthur Stanley Hills, and she died in Chelmsford Hospital on Friday from injuries received when she fell from a bicycle when she and Wright, who was driving a car, came into collision on August 10. Wright is a member of the newly-formed Chelmsford City Football Club.
Arthur Gordon Hills, an engineer, of Sandford Road, Chelmsford, son of Mrs. Hill, gave evidence of identification, and stated that his mother was an experienced cyclist.
Dr. F.E. Camps, pathologist, said death resulted from pneumonia, which was secondary to fracture of the skull, and laceration of the brain.

Charles Dalton, of the Essex Public Assistance Institution, Chelmsford, gave evidence that at 2.50 p.m. on August 10 he was walking down Broomfield Road towards Chelmsford on the right-hand pavement, when he saw a lady cyclist approaching. Her position was about in the middle of the road.

A car was coming from behind her at a moderate speed, and was about to overtake her, when she put out her right hand, and at the same time turned right towards Seventh Avenue. The driver of the car tried to avoid her by swerving right, but he had no chance, and the lad was struck off her machine. In witness’s opinion she not give sufficient warning.

P.C. Hovell stated that the road was wet at the time, owing to rain. He found a hairpin and a small bicycle screw in the middle of the junction of the two roads, and there was a slight graze on the steel of the right handle-bar of the cycle. – The Coroner: “It was not a violent collision? – “No, sir.”

Ernest Victor Wright gave evidence that his speed at the time was about twenty miles per hour. He saw the cyclist about four feet from her near side kerb, and he was in the act of overtaking her, when she suddenly put out her right hand, and at the same time started to turn. Witness braked and turned right, but her handlebar caught the front of the car. – The Coroner: “You just touched her, and she fell off? – “That is right, sir.” Mr. F.N. Wingent (for the relatives): “You did not sound your hooter?” – “No, I did not think it was necessary, as she appeared to be going straight on.

Addressing the jury, the Coroner said it seemed perfectly obvious that Mrs. Hills attempted to turn into Seventh Avenue indiscreetly. Had she put her hand out sooner, in all probability the accident would never have happened. It seemed quite proper that Mr. Wright should have given no signal when Mrs. Hills appeared to be going straight along the road.

The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death, and exonerated the driver from all blame.

Mr. L. O’Malley, appearing for Mr. Wright, expressed sympathy with the relatives on behalf of his client, and these sentiments were endorsed by P.s. Wickens for the police.

Copyright - Chelmsford Chronicle, 19-08-1938 - Transcribed by Kjell Hanssen

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