Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Corporation Workman Mistakenly Shoots Friend

As two reservists prepared for call-up after the outbreak of World War One there was a tragedy at a corporation yard when a workman shot his friend during a firearms demonstration.

Britain had declared war on Germany on 7th August and by the end of the month the recruitment drive was gathering pace, the first battalions of 'Liverpool Pals' being formed on the 29th of that month. The day before that Phillip Cribbin and Edward Fitzsimmons, both middle aged, were at the Lark Lane corporation workyard discussing the events of the past month.

The two had been best friends for years and members of the National Reserves. Cribbin had a rifle which he was showing Fitzsimmons how to handle, only for it to go off accidentally. The bullet that was discharged entered Fitzsimmons's head and killed him instantly. Cribbin cried 'I have shot poor old Ned what should I do.'

Cribbin was initially arrested for manslaughter and the following day he cried throughout the inquest, where friends testified to their close relationship. The Deputy Town Clerk described both men as 'steady sober industrious workers' but did say although they were on a break from duty permission had not been granted to to take the rifle onto corporation premises.

The jury did not hesitate to record a verdict of accidental death and Cribbin was discharged from custody.

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