Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer’s father died of lung infection in hospital hours after nearly drowning in horrific car accident on the family farm which killed his wife, inquest hears
- Richard and Anne Spencer were in car with their carer, who was able to escape
Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer’s father died of a lung infection shortly after nearly drowning in a horrific car accident on the family farm which killed his wife, an inquest heard today.
Richard Spencer, 89, and his 82-year-old wife, Anne, both died after their car careered into a river on Lower Garrington Farm in Littlebourne near Canterbury in August.
An inquest into Richard’s death was opened at County Hall in Maidstone, Kent today. Phil has previously revealed that his father – who was known to the family as David – had been diagnosed with dementia – while Anne had Parkinson’s.
Sarah Clarke, Area Coroner for North East Kent, told the court that Richard was in the passenger seat of a Toyota being driven by Anne while their full-time carer, Veronica Francis, was in the rear passenger seat.
The inquest heard Anne had driven from their house towards a bridge on their land that passed over the Nail Bourne River.
Richard Spencer – right – was with Anne when their car careered into a river on Lower Garrington Farm in Littlebourne near Canterbury in August
Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer with his 82-year-old mother, Anne
As the vehicle approached the bridge at around 12.20pm on August 18, it slipped off the edge and overturned – submerging all three occupants in three feet of water.
Ms Clarke told the court that paramedics arrived on the scene within half an hour.
They took both Richard and Anne to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate, but Richard failed to regain consciousness and was pronounced dead.
READ MORE – Flowers are left at bridge where TV star Phil Spencer’s parents died
Ms Clarke gave his cause of death as Aspiration Pneumonitis – an infection of the lungs – on the basis of near drowning.
She told the inquest: ‘Mr Spencer was a farmer and was born in Warwickshire on May 4, 1934.
‘He was married to Anne Spencer, who was also a farmer.
‘He died on August 18, 2023 at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital (QEQM). Identification was dealt with via the police and hospital wristband identification.’
She added: ‘The circumstances of his death, as I understand them, were that at approximately 12.20pm on August 18, Anne Spencer was driving her Toyota.
‘In the front passenger seat was her husband Richard, and sat in the rear passenger side seat was their full time carer Veronica Francis.
‘Anne drove from their house towards towards part of their land which traverses the Nail Bourne River.
‘As the vehicle approached the bridge, which has a steep edge, it tipped over the edge and overturned – submerging all three occupants in around three feet of water.
Richard and Anne were reportedly leaving their farm to travel to a local pub for lunch when their car drifted into the shallow river
Tributes have been left at the spot where Phil Spencer’s parents died in August
A bouquet of white roses – signifying eternal loyalty – were also left by the river
‘Paramedics arrived at 12.57pm and took both Anne and Richard to the QEQM. Unfortunately Richard never regained consciousness.
‘The cause of death has been given as 1a) aspiration pneumonitis on the basis of near drowning.’
A full inquest will be heard at Oakwood House in Maidstone on December 19, at 3.30pm.
TV star Phil paid tribute to his ‘amazing parents’ in a post on Instagram on August 20, where he revealed the couple had been going out for lunch at the time of their accident.
He also shared that Anne had Parkinson’s and Richard had been diagnosed with dementia.
Phil wrote: ‘Very sadly both of my amazing parents died on Friday.
‘As a family we are all trying to hold onto the fact mum and dad went together and that neither will ever have to mourn the loss of the other one. Which is a blessing in itself.
‘Although they were both on extremely good form in the days before (hence the sudden idea to go out to lunch),
‘Mum’s Parkinson’s and dad’s dementia had been worsening and the long term future was set to be a challenge.
‘So much so that mum said to me only a week ago that she had resigned to thinking ”now it looks like we will probably go together”. And so they did.
TV star Phil paid tribute to his ‘amazing parents’ in a post on Instagram on August 20, where he revealed the couple had been going out for lunch at the time of their accident
He also shared that Anne had Parkinson’s and Richard had been diagnosed with dementia
‘That was what God had planned for them – and it was a good plan.
‘The car, going very slowly, toppled over a bridge on the farm drive, upside down into the river.
‘There were no physical injuries and I very much doubt they would have even fought it – they would have held hands under the water and quietly slipped away.
‘Their carer was in the car and managed to climb out of a back window so the alarm was raised quite quickly.
‘As many farmers do – my brother had a penknife and so was able to cut the seat belts – he pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness.
‘Although desperately sad and shocked beyond all belief – all family are clear that if there can ever be such a thing as having a ”good end” – this was it.’
Phil added: ‘It feels horrendous right now, but after almost 60 years of marriage – to die together on the farm they so loved will, I know, be a comfort in the future.
‘Mum and dad are together, which is precisely where they would have wanted to be.’
Phil has spoken in the past about his love of where he grew up and being the son of a farmer (Pictured: Littlebourne)
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