The following is a report of the inquest into Vera PLANK's death. 

The Brighton & Hove Gazette  (for week commencing Monday 18th July 1932)



The tragic death of little Vera Plank, an 11-years-old school girl, who was knocked down and killed by a motor-lorry at the bottom of North-road, Brighton, last Saturday, was inquired into by the Brighton Coroner (Mr. W. D. Peskett), sitting with a jury, on Tuesday.

William Plank 17 Nelson-street, Brighton, the father of the dead girl, said that his daughter was a school girl.  She had always enjoyed good health.

Eye Witnesses

John William Staples, 53 Grand-parade, said that at 10.45 a.m. on Saturday he was outside his shop in Grand-parade when he saw three little girls standing on the pavement.  He then saw them run into the road in front of a stationary car.  When they were about half-way across the lorry appeared, coming towards them.  Two of the children pushed the deceased and ran back.  She was knocked down by the lorry, the front near wheel passing over her.  Witness could not estimate the speed of the lorry.  The accident all happened in a second and the driver had no possible chance of avoiding the child.

Ernest Price. 36 Lewes-street, said he was sitting by the side of the driver who was driving southwards along Grand-parade.  He was going at about 10 to 12 miles an hour.  Witness suddenly saw three little girls come into the road from behind two stationary motor-cars.  They hesitated when they saw the lorry coming and two ran back.  The lorry passed over the other one.  Witness said the accident was unavoidable.

The Driver

Lewis Frederick Jones, 3 Grove-street, said he was a motor-lorry driver and had been driving for over 12 years.  At 10.45 on Saturday he was driving a Dennis two-ton lorry in Grand Parade at about 10 to 12 miles an hour.  He saw three children appear in the road from behind some stationary cars.  When they saw the lorry two of them appeared to push the other one with the intention of pushing her across the road.

P.C. Taylor also gave evidence.

Dr. L. W. Laurie (?), of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, said death was due to shock, following injuries.

"Accidental Death"

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death", exonerating the driver from blame and expressing their sympathy with the bereaved parents.

Mr. W. H. Phillips, of Messrs. Colbourne, Bush and Bartlett, who appeared for the owners of the lorry, also expressed his sympathy on behalf of the firm.