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From the Sussex Advertiser, 2nd September 1845


On Friday last an inquest was held before F H Gell, Esq, on the body of a young woman, aged 20 years, named Ann Knight, formerly of Littlehampton in this county.

James Jackson deposed: I am a driver of an engine used on the new line between Southerham and Selmeston for removing earth, etc. On Friday morning, as I was taking ten empty wagons from Bushy Lodge with the engine, I felt a jerk of the engine and, on turning round, I saw three wagons off the line, one of which was lying on its side. I gradually stopped the engine, and then saw the deceased and a man sitting in the bottom of the upset wagon. I jumped off and, on running back, I found deceased lying on her back on the grass three or four yards from the rail. She just breathed and then died. The man was in the act of raising her up. I saw blood issuing from her nose and mouth, but could not discover any bruise. The deceased and the man had got into the wagon without my leave. We were going at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour when I felt the jerk. I had deceased placed on a board and conveyed to Seal’s beer-shop at Southerham.

Isaac Perry, watchman at Beddingham Gate, saw the tender and wagon coming along that morning towards Lewes. A sleeper, which was hanging down between the bottom and the frame of one of the wagons caught the post of the gate I stood at. The sleeper then drove on towards the other rail and forced off one of the wagons. I saw deceased and a man in one of the wagons as they were coming up and, on going up, after the wagons got off the road, I found she was dead.

James Smith deposed that he and deceased got into one of the wagons at Bushy Lodge to go to Lewes, no one, he thought, seeing them. Shortly after passing Beddingham Gate the wagon went off the line, and we were jerked out of it. I fell out first over the wheels and she fell on me, pitching on her head. I was senseless for a short time. We fell down an embankment, about a yard deep, upon the chalk. I picked deceased up and drew her on the grass. We had lived together about twelve months.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death".

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