Constable Owen Edwin BELL
Motor Vehicle Accident
27 May, 1927
Shortly after 8pm on 27 May, 1927 Constables Bell and Lawman were standing in the centre of Auburn Street, Goulburn. It was a Friday night shopping night in the city. Constable Lawman noticed an approaching vehicle which appeared to be travelling directly toward them. He jumped aside, calling a warning to his colleague. The vehicle however struck Constable Bell in the back, throwing him forward and causing him to strike his head on the asphalt roadway, inflicting serious head and back injuries. Although many people rushed to assist the constable, there was little that could be done for him. He was conveyed to the Goulburn Hospital where he died of his injuries.
The Sydney Morning Herald of 10 June, 1927 reported the following information on the inquest into the constable’s death.
MOTORIST CHARGED – GOULBURN, Thursday.
After an inquiry lasting three days the deputy coroner (Mr A.Macintosh) found that Constable O.E. Bell was killed by a motor car negligently driven by Ernest Hibbert in Auburn Street, Goulburn, on Friday May 27th. He committed Hibbert for trial, bail being fixed at £100. Hibbert was the last witness. His examination lasted nearly all day. He denied the allegations that he was under the influence of liquor at the time of the accident but admitted that he had had six or seven small glasses of stout during the afternoon. Hibbert maintained he had no drink after 6 pm. He admitted driving on the wrong side of the road, in an attempt to pass another car and said he swerved over further in the direction of the constable in order to avoid a boy who was running across the road.
The constable was born in 1883 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 29 October, 1913. At the time of his death he was stationed at Goulburn.
The Canberra Times Tuesday 14 June 1927 p 1
After three days of enquiry, during which about 29 witnesses were examined, the Coroner has found that Constable Owen Edwin Bell died from injuries received on May 27th through being knocked down by a car negligently driven by Ernest Hibbert, whom he committed for trial for manslaughter at the Goulburn Quarter sessions on September 13th, substantial bail being allowed.