Kaye Don home

Kaye Don was best known as a Brooklands race driver, but he also drove on flat tracks and road circuits, and was British Motor Racing Champion in 1928 and 1929.

On Monday 28th May, 1934, Don was preparing to race an MG Magnette on public roads on the Isle Of Man. He was involved in an incident which caused the death of Francis Tayler, an MG employee.

After testing in the morning, Don had complained of poor steering, though this was disputed by MG. Late in the evening, as Don prepared to play Bridge with his wife and race driver H.C. Hamilton, Tayler informed him that the car had been worked on and tested. Kaye Don took the car out for a further test, with Francis Tayler as passenger. This took place at 10pm. The car had no lights, number plates or insurance, yet it was driven on open public roads. Don claimed that the light was adequate, indeed, lighting-up time was 10:25 pm. As he rounded a bend, the MG was in glancing collision with a hackney carriage driven by Mr Ralph Cain, who had five passengers. Fortunately, no-one was hurt in the cab, but the MG lost a wheel and overturned. Both occupants were injured, being admitted to hospital at 10:45 pm. Tayler died at 5:15 am the following morning.

By a majority of seven to four, the Coroner's Court found that Tayler's death was due to negligence on the part of Kaye Don who was, then, sent for trial on a charge of manslaughter. The trial opened on the 14th July, in the traditional Isle Of Man Tynwald court. The evidence was presented and Don was found guilty and sentenced to four months in prison. He appealed on the grounds that, before he died, Francis Tayler might have said something to his - Kaye Don's - detriment. Don claimed that this statement had become public and had predjudiced his trial. In fact, there were sixteen grounds for appeal, but all were rejected and, on September the 29th, the appeal was dismissed. Kaye Don was admitted to prison, where he was treated as a priviledged prisoner and continued to receive medical treatment. He was released on 10th of December on medical grounds. It was reported that Don was to be entertained at dinner in London and was to holiday in Florida, early in January.