Press cutting: inquest on accident at Cadnam, 13th October 1934

The Bournemouth Daily Echo
October 25, 1934

Cadnam Road Smash
Car Caught Fire
Ferndown Woman the Victim
Coroner's Comment bon Danger Spot

The inquest was continued before the Southampton Coroner (Mr. Arthur H. Emanuel) and a jury at Southampton yesterday, on Sarah Emma Torrens (58), wife of John Morrison Torrenns, of Glenbower, Victoria road, Ferndown, Dorset, who was seriously injured when involved in a collision at Cadnam, at the Lyndhurst-Romsey and Southampton-Ringwood roads, on Saturday evening, October 13th, and died on the following Thursday in hospital.

The inquest was opened on Saturday and adjourned until yesterday.

Mrs. Torrens was being driven by her husband in a small Austin car, which came into collision with a Talbot car driven by Mr. Walter Waterfield Bastone, of Baskerville road, Wandsworth common.

The smaller car burst into flames and Mrs. Torrens had to be dragged out of the blazing vehicle.

Mr. Malim appeared on behalf of the husband and Mr. Jackson for Mr. Walter Waterfield Bastone.

Dangerous spot


Police constable Hugh Ronald Hood said he went to the scene of te accident and found that the front of the Talbot had passed through a hedge. The Austin was in a ditch at the roadside, 15 feet from the Talbot, and was practically burnt out. Four skid marks were found on the road, one 15-ft. long another 8-ft. long and a broken skid mark of 4-ft. and 3-ft.

When witness arrived Mr. Bastone was present and Mr. Torrens was getting into the ambulance. The night was dark but fine.

The cross roads had been the scene of many accidents and on some occasions of death.

"The AA man, who stands at the corner, had left because it was after lighting up time," said the officer in reply to Mr. Jackson, "Both roads are equally main roads", he added.

Son's evidence


Cecil Woodman Torrens, the 12-year-old son of Mrs. Torrens, said he was riding in the back of the car in which were his father and mother. They were approaching the cross roads from the Southampton direction, close to the near side and were travelling at 8 or 10 miles an hour.

"We were about thee to five yards from the other car when I first saw it," said the boy. "I saw the head lights of the other car, which were both on.

"The collision was nearer to the road out of which the Talbot came than the centre of the road. The Talbot struck our car just where my mother was sitting. The side of our car suddenly fell out and I got out. Te car had caught fire.

"I got out of the car when we were in the ditch . I never heard the horn of any other car sounded before the collision.2

In reply to Mr Malim, the boy said a beam of light was thrown ahead of his father's car by the headlights.

Headlights Beam

Walter Waterfield Bastone, driver of the Talbot car, said his greatest speed after leaving Bournemouth at 6.15 p.m. was between 30 and 35 miles an hour.

"I was quite unaware before the accident that I was near Cadnam, but I have some recollection of seeing a reflecting sign some distance before the junction of the roads.

"I was driving between 25 and 30 miles an hour and gave no warning just before I reached the cross-road. I had on my headlights which give a beam for 200 yards. I was driving alone.

"I think the collision took place just over half way across the Southampton-Ringwood road. I think I was hit on my off wing at about the centre of the wheel by the near wing of the Austin.

"I have a system whereby I can black out one head light, but I think at the time both head lights were on."

Coroner's Suggestion

John Morrison Torrens, husband of the dead woman, said when he came to the danger sign before the cross-roads he slackened speed and sounded his horn within a few fee of the corner.

The first thing witness saw of the other car were the lights. The car was in the middle of the Lyndhurst road about 15-ft. away from witness.

The Coroner said it was a peculiarity o the case that neither party saw the headlights of the other. It might be that the head lights of one car in some way masked the headlights of the other.

In view of the accidents tat had happened at this corner it might be thought that it would have ben possible for those in authority to minimise the danger. they might have put an island in the centre of the road or something of that sort, the Coroner added.

The jury returned a verdict of death from misadventure and said they thought no blame attached to either driver. They complimented Cecil Woodman Torrens on the way he had given evidence.

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