George and Lilian Hallowes

Inquest Report

From The Poole and East Dorset Herald, Thursday November 19th, 1931.

Manslaughter Verdict

Sequel to Election Day Road Crash

Canford Magna Motorist Implicated

   After a ten minutes' retirement following a hearing lasting five hours, a Poole Coroner's jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Lionel Arthur Liddell, of Creekmoor Farm, Canford Magna, at the adjourned inquest on Monday into the deaths of George Price Hallowes, aged 64, of "The Shieling", Colehill, Wimbourne,and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Hallowes, aged 61, of the same address. Mr. and Mrs. Hallowes were taken to Cornelia Hospital after the accident, which took place at Lytchett on the early afternoon of polling day, October 27th. Mrs Hallowes died two days later from a fracture to the base of the skull, whilst her husband succumbed last Thursday from general blood poisoning, the result of a scalp wound.
   Evidence of identification had been given at earlier hearings by Captain Malcolm Hallowes, of the Royal Army Service Corps, their son, and at Thursday's hearing Dr. Sydney Durrans, of Broadstone, said Mr. Hallowes' condition was undoubtedly aggravated by the news of his wife's death.
   On Monday Mr. Liddell was represented by Mr. J. Scott Henderson, instructed by Mr. E.W. Marshall Harvey, and Mr. E.H. Bone represented the Hallowes family. On behalf of Miss Helen Tubbs, a passenger in the Hallowes' car, who did not give evidence, Mr. A.W. Malim watched the proceedings.
   The first witness called was Arthur Russell of 1, The Plantation, Corfe Mullen, who said that whilst he was motor cycling along Blandford-road, Mr. Liddell's car, a Chrysler, overtook him at an estimated speed of 50 miles an hour. When witness reached the Corfe Mullen cross-roads he saw a small red Triumph car, belonging to Mr. Hallowes, lying on its near side across the road. The Chrysler was across the footpath. The seats of the Triumph had been ripped right out and were scattered along the road, and there were long skid marks.
   Witness did not agree with Mr. Henderson's suggestion that the Chrysler was travelling at the normal speed for a powerful car.
   Arthur Russell, son of the last witness, who was riding pillion, and Percy Galton, of 3, Gallop's Cottages, Spetisbury, who was working on a building close by, corroborated as to the high speed of the Chrysler car.
   Mrs. Alice Curtis, of Nursery Cottage, Upton, who was walking along the road, said the Chrysler came by at "a speed at which a car had never passed her before." Looking ahead, she saw the small Triumph emerge from Randell's Lane, and it was in about the middle of the road when the collision occurred. In her opinion the speed of the larger car caused the collision, and there was no other traffic on the road. "When the little car was struck it seemed to go up and then down with a bang," she said. The Chrysler sounded its horn as it approached the cross-roads.
   Mrs. Hilda Curtis, of 1, Wareham-road, Lytchett Minster, who was standing in a gateway near the cross-roads, said the small car was being driven along Randell's Lane slowly and carefully. One of the cars struck her after the impact, for she was knocked off her feet and into a telegraph pole, and one or more persons fell on to her back. When she recovered she found the Chrysler in the gateway where she had been standing. She did not remember hearing signals from either car.
   Mrs. Ellen Riggs, who was looking out of a window of a neighbouring house, said she heard a warning, but could not say from which car it came.
   One of the passsengers in the small car, Mrs. Hilda Joiner, staying at 16, King-street, Wimbourne, said Mr. Hallowes picked her up in Wimbourne to take her to vote at Wareham. There was a lady sitting beside Mr. Hallowes, and witness was in the back seat with Mrs. Hallowes and another lady. The car was being driven at a very moderate speed approaching the cross-roads. As they emerged into the crossing she saw the Chrysler 15 to 20 yards away on her left and its speed was "terrific". Mr. Hallowes could not have avoided the accident. The front of the Triumph was struck, it seemed to be lifted up and then go over, and she was thrown out into the ditch. She heard no warning from either car.
   Replying to Mr. Henderson, witness said they had met a lot of traffic on the road, and Mr. Hallowes did not seem the sort of man who would lose his head.
   George Hibbs, motor engineer, of Upton Garage, said that when he attempted to move the Triumph it was in second gear and a complete wreck. The wing of the other car was damaged and the front axle appeared to be bent.
   P.C. Jones, who rendered first-aid to the injured persons, said there were skid marks in the Blandford Road 78ft. 9ins. long and 7ft. 10ins from the near side. Other marks showed that there would have been room for the big car to pass behind the small one if the latter was seen in time. When interviewed, Mr. Liddell said to witness, "It is quite understood that I repudiate the charge of dangerous driving."
   Detective-Sergeant Howe said there was a danger signal quite visible to anyone going along Blandford-road.
   Mr. Liddell elected to give evidence and after being cautioned by the Coroner, said he was local manager for the Anglo Dutch Petroleum Company. His car was of 26 h.p. he said, and the brakes were in excellent condition. He knew the road very well, indeed, and when he was 40 or 50 yards from the cross-roads he gave a prolonged blast on his horn. He was 15 to 20 yards from the cross-roads when he saw the red car, and it was then roughly in the centre of the cross-roads, his speed 50 yards from the crossing was 30 miles per hour, and he slowed down to 20 or 25. The red car appeared to deviate slightly from its course just before the crash, and gave no indication as to which way it was going. The first part of the skid marks was due to ordinary braking on approaching the corner.
   The jury's verdict was "that Mr. and Mrs. Hallowes met their deaths through the reckless driving of Lionel Arthur Liddell."
   The Coroner (Mr. J.W. Miller): That is manslaughter, of course.
   The Foreman (Mr. George H. Bailey): Yes.

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