|Rushden Echo, 14th January 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins
Railway Fatality at Irchester - Goods Checker Killed By a Train
As reported in last week's "Rushden Echo," Mr. John Francis Payne, aged 32, Midland Railway goods checker at Irchester, met with his death yesterday week, when he was knocked down by a passing train. At the inquest on Friday last Mr. J. T. Parker, coroner, registered a verdict of "Accidental death."
Evidence by George Moore, goods clerk at Irchester Station, showed that on Friday, Payne was in the office till about 2.5, when he left and walked in the direction of the passenger station, to reach which he would have to cross the goods line. The last witness saw of him was when he was half-way across, and no trains were about then. About 2.40 the stationmaster was coming along to witness's office, and called out to him. Witness saw deceased lying in the four-foot way of the up goods road, having been discovered there by the stationmaster. A doctor was sent for, and deceased was placed on a stretcher. No signs of life were apparent when they picked him up. When he left witness's office deceased was in the best of spirits, and was perfectly cheerful.
Mrs. Annie Mary Payne said that her husband had worked at Irchester Station about 18 months. On Thursday he left home after dinner, and was then in good health. He had no trouble whatever.
The statement of the stationmaster (Mr. W. G. Fleet) was to the effect that at 2.40 p.m. he was going to the goods shed, and saw Payne lying on the up goods road, badly injured. Witness thought Payne was living when he found him, but he was dead before the doctor arrived. There was no blood on rails, but there was some on the sleepers near to the body. Apparently deceased had been struck by a train, and there were marks as if he had been pushed along. Goods trains passed the spot at 2.15, 2.27, and 2.37 on the down line and 2.27 and 2.37 on the up line, so that trains would be passing each other but none of them stopped. Deceased was found on a stretch of the line away from the cutting. It was a windy day, and there was difficulty in hearing. The accident might have occurred by deceased standing out of the way of one train and being caught by another.
Wm. John Murrell, driver of the goods train which passed Irchester on the up line about 2.35 p.m., said he met another train near the bridge on the Wellingboro’ side. He saw no one on the line after passing the signal-box, which a signalman had just left. Witness's train was going a walking pace. It had two engines and 85 wagons of coal, and would be making a lot of noise. When his engine was examined at Luton, Harpenden, and London, no marks were found.
Dr. Greenfield, of Rushden, said he saw deceased about 3.5 p.m. Payne was then dead. There were several deep cuts about the forehead, and the left arm was severed above the elbow. The injuries which caused death were such as, would be sustained by a man who was struck by a railway engine.