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Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th January 1948, transcribed by Kay Collins
William Cooke
Knocked Down by Taxi
Accidental Death

The inquest on William Cooke, aged 74, a shoe foreman who was employed at Rushden, but who lived at Northampton, was concluded on Tuesday at Northampton, a verdict of "Accidental death" being returned.

His death at Northampton General Hospital followed a street accident in which Cooke was knocked down by a taxi-cab.

Charles William Berrill, a retired lasting foreman, who had been deceased's frequent companion for 20 years, said that on Sunday, January 4th, according to custom, he had arranged to meet Cooke, but the latter did not turn up. The previous night he had been in perfectly normal health.

Badly Injured

Arthur Pell, retired shoehand, described how on January 4th. at about 7.20 p.m., he was walking in Wellingborough Road when he saw a figure near the other side of the road. It was very dark and he could not say whether it was a man or woman. A minute or two later he heard the screeching of brakes as a bus, followed by a motor car, came along. Both had approached at normal speed, the car overtaking the bus.

He found a man lying on the road, badly injured, but could not say whether this was the same person he had noted earlier. The car had sidelights, but he was not certain about headlights. So far as he saw the incident, it was the weather that caused the mishap.

Edward Warner, retired shoe manager, gave evidence that he saw a figure cross the front of the bus in the lights of the bus. The man was lying near the centre of the road.

No Chance

Oliver Welford, the bus driver, said that he was travelling at 15 to 20 miles per hour when the car overtook him. He saw a man crossing the road about 20 yards away. The car appeared to go on about 30 yards after striking the man.

P.C. Gargate gave particulars as to measurements and spoke of a signed statement made by the driver of the car, Thomas Stott Harrison, of Northampton.

In this Harrison said he was driving at 25 miles an hour and was on top of the deceased almost before he saw him. He had no chance of avoiding a collision.

P.C. Turner spoke of testing the brakes of the car. Three tests of the footbrake showed 40 per cent., 40 per cent, and 35 per cent efficiency, and of the handbrake 41 per cent., 43 per cent, and 44 per cent.

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