Northern Circuit Liverpool March 23rd
Crown Court before Mr Baron ALDERSON
James TAYLOR aged 20 was indicted for the murder of James BIRCHALL at Huyton on the 6th Dec last.
Mr Peter BURKE prosecuted, Mr Tindal ATKINSON defended the prisoner.
It appeared that at Huyton there is a colliery, called the Halsnead Colliery, and at the mouth of the shaft leading down to that colliery an engine was erected to draw up the coals and let down the workmen. It was the prisoner’s duty to attend to the duty of that engine. On the 6th of December last the deceased James BIRCHALL and another man were descending the shaft into the coal-pit for the purpose of making some repairs. The deceased, who was about to descend the shaft, placed his foot on the stirrup of the chair and swung himself a foot down the shaft, at the same time asking the prisoner, who was in the engine house, which is about nine yards from the mouth of the shaft, if it was ready. The prisoner replied, “All right”, and the chair began to descend into the pit, but, almost immediately after began rapidly to ascend, and carrying the deceased with it, struck him with great violence against the pulley over which the rope from which the engine ran, and from which the chair was suspended, drawing round the wheel and dashing him with great violence against the ground. The deceased was so much injured that he died shortly afterwards.
For the defence it was contended that the accident was not owing to any negligence on the part of the prisoner, but to the engine being out of order, that the force with which the deceased had swung himself off the mouth of the pit had set the engine going, that the prisoner had then used his best endeavours to stop it, but he had been unable to do so until the accident had occurred. His Lordship having directed the jury that the prosecutor was bound to prove some particular act of negligence to render the prisoner liable to the present charge.
The Jury found the prisoner guilty.
Liverpool Mercury, Oct 19th 1852
Shocking railway accident at Huyton
On Friday we published a short account of an accident of a very dreadful character, which happened that morning at the Huyton station of the London and North-Western Railway, to Mr T. B. SPARKS, a gentleman of about 28yrs of age, son of Mr SPARKS of the firm SPARKS and Co, wine merchants, South Castle St, and one of the partners in the firm of HUNT and SPARKS, Shipbrokers, Fenwick St.
Mr T. B. SPARKS resided in the house of Mr LUCAS at Huyton, and at about 8.30am was one of a number of persons standing on the platform at that station for the train arriving from Preston. The train, which was a very long one came up, and, before it had become stationary, Mr SPARKS seized the handle of a carriage door, ran along with the train and struck Mr J. W. MULLENEUX, who was also waiting on the platform, with considerable force on the right shoulder. The collision removed his grasp and he fell between the carriages and the platform. In endeavouring to rescue himself from his terrible position, his legs got under the wheels, and he was thus most fearfully crushed.
Mr SPARKS, was rescued as soon as possible, placed in one of the carriages and brought to Edge Hill, where no time was lost in putting him on a stretcher, and removing him to the Infirmary. On examination it was found that the unfortunate man had sustained compound fractures of both legs, and the injuries were so serious a character that it was necessary to amputate both his limbs. The operation was accordingly performed by Mr ALTON, the resident surgeon.
In a letter addressed to a contemporary on the subject of the accident, Mr J. W. MULLENEUX says, “It is a wonder, often expressed, that there have not been more accidents at the Huyton station. Every morning at 8.30, we average the number of a least 15 or 20 passengers, and these are principally contractors, but, to meet the convenience of such a number, it hardly ever occurs that there is accommodation for all in the first class carriages, and the consequence is that a second or third-class carriage or even a van has to be sought for their conveyance, and in thus striving for places there is a rushing and jostling, highly dangerous on a platform so narrow and contracted.. The placing of one more first-class carriage in the Preston train would at once obviate this great evil, and I shall, with others, be well satisfied if this note should come before the notice of the railway directors, and be the means of inducing them to make provision against so great a necessity.”