§ MR. BELL
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has received a Report of an accident which occurred on the new line being constructed between Tenterden and Headcorn on the 8th inst., when one man named Frederick Thistleton was killed and two others named Moorly and Stephenson were injured; and, if he will cause an inquiry to be held into the cause of such accident.
(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.)This sad accident has been reported to the Board of Trade by the contractors in pursuance of the Notice of Accidents Act, and I propose to order a formal investigation under the Act.
§ MR. BELL
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to an inquest that was held at St. Michael's on the 8th instant, on the body of Frederick Thistleton, who was killed on the new line being constructed between Tenterden and Headcorn, and to the fact that the inquest was held within a few hours of the accident, and without the attendance of any of the injured men, or time for any of the deceased's relatives to attend; and, if so, whether he will ascertain the reason for this hasty inquiry in the 267 absence of the evidence of the injured men.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas). I have communicated with the coroner with regard to the case mentioned in the Question, and have ascertained that the accident occurred at 10 a.m., that in the exercise of his discretion the coroner thought it desirable to hold the inquest at once, and that it was opened at 8.30 p.m. the same day. Evidence as to the cause of death was taken carefully and at considerable length, and an adjournment for further evidence was considered unnecessary because it had been ascertained that the injured men could only confirm the evidence already before the Court, and that the relatives could give no fresh information. The coroner assures me that the inquiry, which lasted more than two hours, was in no sense a hasty one, and that there would have been no justification for an adjournment.