The Northampton Mercury Friday, September 10, 1926.
A verdict of "accidental death" Was returned by Mr W.E. Whitton, sitting with a jury at an inquest held at Watts' farm, Culworth, on Wednesday afternoon, on Thomas Watts, a farmer, aged 61, who was killed on the London and North Eastern Railway on Tuesday morning.
Superintendent Butler, of Towcester, represented the police; inspector Frond (district locomotive inspector), the L. N. E. R. ; and Mr. Lawson Sanders, The Associated Society of locomotive engineers.
Mr. George Watts, farmer, of Culworth, a brother, said on Tuesday Mr Watts, Who worked for him, was going to work in some fields on the opposite side of the railway line which were reached by means of a level Crossing. Witness and his wife had repeatedly begged his brother not to use the crossing as he was very deaf.
Sarah Ann Watts, wife of the previous witness, said shortly after Mr Watts had left to go to work she heard an engine whistle and on going outside saw him on the level crossing, but as she could not see him after the train had passed, she concluded he had got safely across.
William Winnett, call, who was in charge of a gang of platelayers working on Woodford side of Watts level Crossing, said William Shenton, an engine driver, stopped the train he was driving and said he had knocked down an elderly man at a level Crossing.
Ernest George Partlett, parish constable at Culworth said when he found Mr Watts body the right leg was severed near the hip, the left arm nearly severed from the shoulder, the left leg smashed at the thigh, the head smashed, and the upper part of the body badly torn. The body was 60 yards from where it had been struck, was practically stripped of clothing, and almost unrecognisable.
William Henry Shenton, engine driver said he was driving a train of horses from Banbury to Doncaster, and when passing Eydon-Road crossing noticed an old man about to step on to the up line at the level Crossing further ahead. He blew his whistle, but the man kept on his way, looking on the ground. Witness slowed down, but driving about 50 miles per hour when the engine hit the man, who was then almost in the middle of the 4 foot way. He had only about 100 yards view of Watts's and did the best he could, blowing the emergency whistle in addition to the ordinary one.
In reply to a question, witness said he did not think the circumstances warranted his pulling up before. He knew he had knocked Watts down, but did not think there could be anything left of him.
The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death" and exonerated the driver of the train from blame.