Driver knocked over policeman on point duty

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1914 Police Court

The accident which befell PC Ford at the Westborough End of Huntriss Row led to the driver of the motor car appearing at the Scarborough Police Court today.

The magistrates on the bench were the Mayor (Mr CC Graham) in the chair, Alderman V Fowler, Cllr JL Hopwood, and Mr J Sinfield.

Defendant was Alfred Verriner Worsnop of Rockville, 17, Saville Road, Halifax, who was summoned for having driven a motor car in Westborough on April 11th in a manner dangerous to the public.

Defendant pleaded not guilty.

The Chief Constable, in outlining the case, stated that on Saturday April 11th, PC Ford was on duty at the corner of Huntriss Row, regulating the traffic. Defendant was driving his car along Westborough, and when he approached the constable he sounded his horn, and wished to turn into Huntriss Row.

The constable signalled him with his left hand to come on. In order to allow defendant to pass him on his left side the constable turned his back to the motorist, so as to prevent people from crossing the road. The constable was only able to tell very little as to what happened. The defendant’s car knocked the policemen in the back, and pushed him a few yards along the road. The speed of defendant’s car was estimated at between 10 or 12 miles an hour along Westborough. The constable gave a very moderate estimate of the speed of the car, as it was 
approaching him, about seven or eight miles per hour.

He did not want to press this case because the constable was knocked down, but he suggested that when the 
defendant knocked the constable down, when he was plainly clad in uniform, there would be little hope for the 
ordinary pedestrians. The constable as a result of his injuries was off duty for 36 days.

PC Ford, in giving evidence, stated that he was regulating traffic at the corner of Huntriss Row on the day in question. There was not a great amount of vehicular traffic but there was a great number of pedestrians. When defendant approached him he put up his hand and signalled him to proceed. At the same time he (the constable) stepped to the right.

Mr AW West, Bridlington, for the defendant: Did he not take you to the hospital? - Yes.

And did he not call on the Sunday and enquire how you were progressing? - Yes.

On the whole he was interested himself in your welfare? - Yes.

Wm. Milner, of 37, Candler Street, gave evidence in support of the prosecution. He stated there was an unusual number of people on the footpath at that time.

Robert Dunn, drayman, of 16, Brooke Street, stated that he was in charge of a horse and cart on the Saturday. He heard a motor horn sound. The defendant came round the corner, and the off mudguard caught the constable and sent him along the ground. He stopped the cart and told 
defendant he had better take the constable to the hospital. The defendant got out, Dunn continued, but he did not know whether he was going to wind his engine up again or not. He thought the driver of the car was at fault.

Mr West: You don’t mean to suggest that this man would be so callous as to drive off and leave the constable in the roadway, do you? - Well, I should think not.

Benjamin Benton, of 21, Victoria Road, gave corroborative evidence.

Mr West, in addressing the magistrates said: The defendant in this case was charged with driving to the danger of the policeman who was on point duty. Nobody regretted more than the defendant that the unfortunate accident happened, and he showed much sincere sympathy for the constable.

The defendant was labouring under a misapprehension as to what the constable’s intentions were. The constable stepped back, to allow him to pass his proper side. It suggested to him that on the evidence called it was abundantly clear that he was not driving to the danger of the public. The officer on point duty was no doubt an efficient officer. He noticed the car coming down Westborough. Had the 
defendant been driving dangerously the officer would have been the first man to hold him up, but instead he mentioned him to come on.

Alfred Verriner Worsnop stated that he, after having been motioned to by the constable to proceed, looked straight in front of him.

Kenneth Bailey, of Hipperholm, near Halifax, who was in the car with Worsnop, said he had driven with defendant several times, and had always considered him to be a careful driver.

He thought the constable was at fault when the accident occurred.

In fining the defendant £5 including costs, the Mayor said they considered defendant was at fault, and if he had been undecided as to what to do he should have pulled up.

Mr West asked if they could be allowed to appeal, but the magistrates’ clerk said he did not think so, whereupon Mr West said he would have to consider the case.