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Shocking accident on railway line in Haywards Heath

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

West Sussex County Times - Saturday 31 December 1881



—On Tuesday evening a shocking accident, which has terminated fatally, occurred to a man named William Taylor, near Hayward's Heath Station. It appears, according to the statement of P.C. Stevens, stationed at Hayward's Heath, that the deceased, who is a navvy engaged on the new railway which is being made near Hayward's Heath, was found on the line with one of his legs cut off, an arm severely crushed, and a large bruise on his forehead.

The railway is not yet completed, but an engine is used to take away the trucks containing the earth and other materials. The driver of this told the constable that as he was driving along he noticed something black lying on the metals, but before he could stop he had passed over it. He pulled up as quickly as possible, and sent a man back to see what it was. It was then discovered that a shocking accident had occurred to the deceased.

A communication was at once sent to Hayward's Heath, and with assistance the man was conveyed there. Mr. Newth, surgeon, was soon in attendance, and dressed the deceased's wounds in the best possible manner under the circumstances, and, at the same time, advised that he should be conveyed to the Sussex County Hospital. This advice was acted upon. The deceased was put into the next train travelling to Brighton, and was accompanied by the police-constable.

Soon after leaving Preston Station, however, he succumbed to his injuries, and when Brighton was reached the body was conveyed to the Railway Roading-room, where it is now lying.

It is not thought that the deceased committed suicide, and the only account that can at present be given as to how the accident occurred is that the deceased was the worse for liquor, having been previously drinking at a public house with a number of his companions, that he was going down the line towards his house, and that while in this intoxicated condition he fell down across the line. He is a single man.

An inquest was held on the body on Thursday, at the Reading Room of the Railway station, before Mr. A. F. Gell, Deputy Borough Coroner, when a verdict of accidental death was returned.


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