Cairneyhill Fatal Accident Inquiries




Sheriff Umpherston and a jury at Dunfermline to-day conducted inquiries into six fatal accidents in West Fife [2 of which concerned Cairneyhill].

The first enquiry was into a motor accident in Cairneyhill on 11th July, the victim of which was Joan, the three-year-old daughter of Police-Constable David Thomson Maxwell, Cairneyhill.

She died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital shortly after the accident from injuries received by her in Main Street, Cairneyhill, through being knocked down and run over by a motor car.

Constable Maxwell said his daughter went out to play, and was brought back to the house shortly afterwards with severe injuries.


The statement that she saw the child run right in front of the motor car was made by Mrs Janet Wright, Main Street, Cairneyhill, while standing at the front of her house. She said she noticed some boys playing on the street with a ball, and the girl was also on the street, when the motor car came along towards Dunfermline, travelling at a moderate speed.

‘I was absolutely unaware of any child with whom I had collided. I thought something had broken in the car’ said the driver of the car, David Hugh Kirkman Welsh (30), teacher, Craigflower Torryburn.


His attention had been fixed on the boys, he said, when all of a sudden he heard a crash. He did not draw up straight away, because he thought it was a mechanical breakdown.

On seeing a man hold up his hand he stopped, and saw a child lying on the road. This was the first time he had seen the child.

Corroborative evidence was given by Jeffrey Peter Sergeantson (32), a fellow teacher, who was with him in the car. This witness said he had a glimpse of a child in pink walking across the road. A formal verdict was returned.


The second inquiry was also into the death of a Cairneyhill resident, William Templemen, a master builder, who died on 27th August at Cults Farm steading, Saline, having been buried beneath about five tons of material by the collapse of a wall which he was undermining.

Two labourers who were with him at the time, John Wilson (57), Main Street, Cairneyhill, and David Smith (38), labourer, ‘Studyhouse’, Culross, said that they were filling a cart while Templeman was using a pick, undermining the wall. They heard a crash, and found that the wall had toppled over and overwhelmed Templeman.

He was dead when they got him out. It was an old stone and lime wall, with no particular foundation, and very little adhesion between the parts.

Templeman had not appreciated the risk of working on this wall. A formal verdict was also returned.

[The next inquiry was in respect of an explosion at Valleyfield Pit and the court was then adjourned].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: