Taunton Courier 07 Nov 1934 Wellington Fatality Mr Thomas BRICE of Glencott Farm Kittisford

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal and Western Advertiser Wednesday 07 Nov 1934

Page 3 Column 5





The death occurred at Wellington Hospital on Thursday of Mr. Thomas BRICE, aged 64, of Glencott Farm, Kittisford, near Wellington.

On Monday, October 22nd, Mr. BRICE was riding in a motor-van driven by Mr. Mark HOWE, of Newport-street, Tiverton, when the steering column broke, and the van dashed across the road, mounted the pavement, and overturned. Mr. BRICE sustained injuries to the head and abdomen, and had been in Wellington Hospital since.

The accident took place just outside Wellington School, and two brick pillars of one of the entrance gates was smashed.

For several years Mr. BRICE represented Kittisford on Wellington Rural Council.



The inquest was conducted at Wellington Police-court on Friday afternoon, by the West Somerset Coroner, Mr. G. P. CLARKE, who sat with a jury. Mr. D. C. HARWARD, Tiverton, represented the driver of the van, and Mr. F. P. COTTEY, Exeter, held a watching brief.

Mr. Frank BRICE, labourer, of Stretchy Cottage, Langford Budville, gave evidence of identification, and said his father was 64 years of age. On Monday, October 22nd, the van, driven by Mr. Mark HOWE, called at the cottage. Deceased was sitting with him in the front, and witness sat on the floor of the van. He saw nothing of the accident, but heard someone shout, “The steering has gone.” Witness was shaken up, but did not go to hospital.


Dr. C. FOX, of Wellington, said she attended BRICE at Wellington Hospital. He was suffering from severe shock, but there were no external injuries. Two or three ribs were broken on the right side. Pneumonia later developed, and his condition rapidly became worse. He died at about four a.m. on Thursday. Death was due to septic pneumonia, caused by the injuries received in the accident.

Edward LANSDOWN, traveller, of Marcella, Holway Hill, Taunton, said he was driving his car in South-street, Wellington, when the van passed, going in the same direction. Witness was about to stop to make a call. Suddenly the van “seemed to drift to the off-side of the road,” mounted the pavement, and struck a wall. It then overturned on the pavement. He saw deceased fall through the door and was crushed by the van as it fell. Witness went to the assistance of deceased, who was later taken to hospital.

Replying to a juror, witness said the van passed him at 20-25 miles an hour.


P.S. HISCOX, Wellington, said he examined the van near Wellington School. It was extensively damaged, and the steering arm was hanging loose, having become disconnected from the steering rod. The wall and fence of Wellington School were also damaged.

The Sergeant added that the van was an old one. In his opinion the steering rod jumped from the socket when the brakes were applied suddenly.

Mark HOWE, motor engineer, of Newport-street, Tiverton, the driver of the van, said as he was passing Wellington School a crowd of boys crossed the road. He reduced his speed, blew the horn, and began to return to the proper side. He then found that he had no control over the steering. He applied his brakes, the van mounted the kerb on the off-side, and crashed into the wall and fence of Wellington School, afterwards turning over. The vehicle was first registered in 1928. He made the same journey on several occasions. The steering was overhauled about six months ago. When it was examined after the accident it was found that the spring holding the ball-cup was broken. In that condition a sudden jar would be sufficient to put the steering out of action.


Replying to Mr. HARWARD, witness said the camber of the road at that spot was very steep, and he considered that the accident was caused through having to pull out of it. His speed was between 10 and 15 miles an hour.

Harry HOWE, of “Walnor,” Park Hill, Tiverton, son of the previous witness, said he drove the van for about twenty miles two days before the accident and found it to be in perfect condition.

Summing up, the Coroner said he thought the jury would find that the van was in a reasonably good condition. One expected a vehicle owned by a motor engineer to be in a better condition that one belonging to a member of the general public. “There is no doubt,” he added, “that there are many vehicles on the road today which ought not to be. I think many people would like to see the reduction in the tax coupled with a certificate that the vehicle was in good running order.”

The jury returned a verdict of “Misadventure,” and exonerated the driver from blame.

The jury returned a verdict of “Misadven-pressing sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

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