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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Innocent of Manslaughter

On Wednesday 13th June 1877 the London Daily News reported the proceedings from the Police Courts held in the Guild Hall, London.  They reported the case of John Teatheredge, of 2 Braithwaite Place, Hall Park, Paddington and Arthur Willis Payne who were charged with manslaughter.  John was  the driver of an omnibus belonging to the London General Omnibus Company plying for trade between Paddington and London Bridge, while Arthur was the driver of another omnibus belonging to the same company, but plying for trade between Bayswater and London Bridge.  Both men were charged on remand, before Alderman Nottage, with racing their omnibuses in Newgate Street, London and thereby causing the death of Patrick Twohig, a costermonger, who was in the street at the same time.  The two drivers were committed for manslaughter but were liberated on bail. 

The accident happened on 25th May 1877 at about 8 o’clock in the evening.  From reading the various accounts of the accident it would appear that the two omnibuses were coming down Newgate Street in the same direction, with Teatheredge’s omnibus kerbside and Payne’s omnibus on the “off side”.  One report says that they were so close that their wheels appeared to be touching.  Teatheredge’s horse is described as stumbling and knocking the man down.  The reports give varying accounts of the speed of the omnibuses, several saying they were speeding with estimates of the speed being anything from 3mph to 20mph!  The passengers on Teatheredge’s bus were consistent in saying they were going 4-5 mph, "barely more than a walking pace". Patrick Twohig died several days after the accident.  When arrested John Teatheredge claimed he was innocent “for the other bus caught his wheels and that was what caused the accident."
A Calendar of Prisoners tried at Assizes Quarter Sessions at Her Majesty's Gaol Newgate shows that John and Arthur were brought into custody “standing indicted for feloniously killing and slaying one Patrik Twohig”. The two drivers were tried at the Old Bailey on 25th June 1877.  All the evidence was submitted and if you are interested you can read the details at the Old Bailey Proceedings on line.

The prisoners received good character references and witnesses testified to their skill and care when driving.  They were both found NOT GUILTY .

So who is John Teatheredge, who has one of the rarer versions of the family name?
He was born as John Francis Teatheredge in Camberwell London in 1852 one of 4 children born to James Teatheredge and Emily Wing.  John married Elizabeth Hurdle in 1881 at St John the Baptist,  Islington and they had 3 children Alice Maud born 1881, Herbert James born 1882 and Albert Edward born in 1885 died 1886.  John  moved around east London in 1861 and 1871 he was at 12 Orchard Road, Camberwell St Giles. In 1881 he was living at 112 Wenlock -Street ,Shoreditch and 1891 and 1893 he was living in 4 Belham Street, Camberwell where he rented two rooms unfurnished on the first floor.  John died in Camberwell in 1896 aged 44.

John’s occupation remained an omnibus driver / bus driver so no black mark was put by his name from the incidents mentioned above.

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