It was the chauffeur's fault

Hertfordshire Mercury, 11th January 1913


At Hatfield Petty Sessions, Malcom D Bowfield, a chauffeur, of Denmark Hill, S.E. London, did not put in an appearance to answer a summons for driving a motor-car furiously and to the common danger, at Hatfield, on December 3rd.

Mr F.G. Pike, of Church Street, Hatfield, stated that on December 3rd he was standing opposite the Great Northern Hotel at 12.30 p.m. when he saw a motor-car coming up the hill from London at a terrific pace – he should say at forty-five miles an hour.  He watched the car for half a minute, and it was then out of sight having covered a distance of half a mile.  He took the number of the car, which was LE 5552, and the car was a grey one.  There was another man sitting beside the driver.  The children were coming out of school across from the railway bridge at the time, and the little mites were scattered in all directions, two of them falling down in the gutter.  The Chairman asked “Is there a speed-limit there?”  Supt Sullivan replied in the affirmative.

Mr James J. Moore, a ticket inspector on the Great Northern Railway, stated that he was coming from the station at the time, and he should say that the car was going at forty miles an hour.  The Chairman asked  “Is there anything to connect the defendant with this car?”, and Supt Sullivan replied  “We have a communication from the police that the defendant admits he drove a car through Hatfield on the day and at the time in question.”  The Chairman said  “If there is anything to connect this man with the case, I know what I should be inclined to do”, to which Supt Sullivan responded  “I caused enquiries to be made of the L.C.C. as to the owner of the car with the number mentioned by Mr Pike.  There was considerable delay in finding the defendant.”  At this point the police notified the Bench that a letter had just been received by post.  The Clerk read the letter, which was from the defendant, and in it he stated  “I was driving a car through Hatfield on December 3rd.  I did not have any notice to stop, and no one tried to stop me.  I have told my master that I received a summons and he says that it has nothing to do with him.  I did not hear I was wanted by the police until 3 weeks after the date on which the accident happened.  Directly I heard I went and told them I was the driver of the car.  I have been a driver for about 6 years and have a clean licence.  I understand that it will be all right if I do not come all the way to Hatfield and back as the Magistrates can deal with the case in my absence.”  The Chairman said  “Yes, we can deal with it now.  The defendant will be fined £5 and 16s 6d costs.”

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