Mr Luis Goncelvis Fontes

  1934, aged 21

 ata_luis_fontes_1938.jpg  1938
 

b. 26 December 1912; brother of Ruth [the family were from Brazil, although he and Ruth were both born in London].

Racing driver, winning the Le Mans 24 hour race in a Lagonda with John Hindmarsh, a test pilot, in 1935, as well as the Manx Grand Prix and a number of lesser events. (The Lagonda can now be seen in the Netherlands National Motor Museum).

 

Monday 02 December 1935 - "RACING MOTORIST SENT TO PRISON

Judge and a Case of “Wicked Recklessness

LICENCE SUSPENDED FOR 10 YEARS

Luis Fontes, the 22-year-old racing motorist, was sentenced to three years’ penal servitude, his licence was suspended for ten years from the date of his release, and he was ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution at both the police court and the assizes by Mr. Justice Du Parcq at Warwick Assizes on Saturday.

He was charged with the manslaughter of Reginald Francis Mordike at Coleshill 6th October. The Judge said that it was the worst case he had ever known. When he considered what Fontes did on the day of the tragedy it appeared to him to plain that was not a question of whom he was likely to injure or kill, but how many he would injure or kill. He behaved with wicked recklessness, for which the only excuse that could offered was that he was drunk. The Judge added that if he had not thought that Fontes was drunk he would say that the case was almost as black as murder, for any reasonable person behaving as Fontes behaved would have known it was almost inevitable that someone would be killed. He considered that Fontes had been treated in regard to certain other motoring offences with deplorable leniency.

SENTENCES OF PENAL SERVITUDE

Fontes was defended by Sir Henry Curtis Bennett, K.C., and Mr. Arthur Ward, and pleaded guilty.

There had been evidence at different points that he was driving his motor car at recklessly high speed and he was on number of occasions completely on the wrong side of the road; that he drove with complete disregard of the safety of other users; that, finally, he was under the influence of drink to such extent as not to be able to have full control of the car. Mr. Marshall mentioned how a man, recognised as Fontes, went to the house of a gardener at Castle Gardens, smashed a panel in the door of his house, went upstairs and lay on his bed. Witnesses w'ho saw him formed the opinion that he was under the influence of drink. It was alleged that Fontes was racing with another car, and at a cross-roads an AA patrol man had to jump out of the way. Further along another car was forced to go on the grass verge, and behind this car were two motor cyclists one of whom Mordike, the man who was killed.

The motor cyclists were travelling about 15 miles an hour, three feet from their proper side of the road. Fontes’s car, travelling at a very fast speed, collided head-on with and knocked him off his machine.

DID NOT STOP

Neither Fontes’s car nor the other car stopped, but further on they were held up in traffic. Then Fontes drove to a garage and told a garage man to put right his front tyre, which was deflated. Fontes did not get out of the car, but sat back in the seat and switched on the wireless. He was droswy and did not realise what was going on around him. Subsequently doctors certified him as being under the influence of drink. To a police officer he said, I struck the motor cyclist, the motor cyclist struck me, it is fifty-fity. It serves the cyclist right.” Drink was found in the car. The motor cyclist died the next day.

Police-Superintendent Horsman told the judge that Fontes’s father died when he was young and Fontes inherited, at 21, a considerable fortune. He received a good education, and from 1932 to 1934 he took a course in automobile repair work. Since then be had been engaged, with some success, motor racing. There was a number of convictions against him, four being for careless driving, and one for dangerous driving. while there were several for minor offences."

Operated a speedboat firm in Torquay.

 

Owned:

1935 Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP G-ADGP Miles Hawk Speed Six Luis Fontes 3

and

1938 B A Eagle 2 G-AFKH G AFKH Tommy Rose 0129 0039

luis and ruth fontes

with his sister Ruth, King's Cup 1935


Killed in WWII: 12th October 1940, when a First Officer with the Air Transport Auxiliary; his Wellington stalled and crashed following engine failure. Buried Mapledurham, Oxfordshire

see also Fontes, Luis Goncelvis (ata-ferry-pilots.org)

 

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