Death following collision on the A48 Gloucester-Lydney road
By Court reporter | 14th April 2023
The son of a former equerry to the late Duke of Edinburgh was killed when he was hit by a van as he stood on a main road apparently trying to hitch a lift, an inquest heard on Thursday (April 13).
The Honourable Robert Wigram, known as 'Bertie,' died from multiple traumatic injuries after the collision on the A48 Gloucester-Lydney road at Wintles Hill, near Westbury on Severn, just after 3am on June 13, 2022, the Gloucester inquest was told.
Assistant Gloucestershire Coroner Roland Wooderson recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Mr Wigram, 42 - whose father Andrew, the 3rd Baron Wigram, of Poulton Fields, Cirencester, was an equerry to Prince Philip - lived at the High Nash community in Coleford.
High Nash supports adults with learning disabilities, autism, acquired brain injuries, mental health conditions or drug and alcohol addiction.
The inquest heard that on June 12, 2022, Mr Wigram, who lived independently at the community and had 'full capacity', told staff he was going for a swim in Lydney.
Later, however, the staff received a report that Mr Wigram was 'highly intoxicated' and had suffered a fall. They were later told he had been taken to hospital.
At 6.40pm he rang High Nash saying he was with paramedics and was waiting to be seen at the hospital. Just before midnight, they learned that he had been reporting chest pains when he was taken to hospital. Staff tried to call him at that time but got no reply.
The Coroner said he had received a number of statements from people driving on the A48 that night who had seen a man on the roadside. One of the motorists was police support officer Christine Smith.
She stated that while driving near Minsterworth at 11-11.15pm she saw a man walking on the nearside of the road and noticed him 'stumbling forward' a bit.
"He carried on wobbling and looked like he was well gone with drink," she stated.
Another witness, Neville Ireland, stated that as he drove towards Chaxhill at about 11.50pm he saw a man on the nearside verge.
"He was facing the road and looking at me," stated Mr Ireland. "He had his thumb up as if hitching a lift. He was just standing there."
Shortly afterwards, said Mr Ireland, he was returning along the road when he saw the man again, about five hundred yards from the first location where he had seen him.
"This time he was stood right in the middle of the southbound carriageway. He was looking at me and waving one of his arms up and down. I went past him, and he just stood still."
Another motorist, Anthony Willis-Dent, stated that at about 12.10 to 12.20am on June 13th he was approaching Westbury on Severn and saw a man in the road.
"His right foot was about a foot from the kerb," he said. "He was facing me and holding his left arm up. It was clear to me he was trying to hitch a lift.
"He didn't move at allm so I had to swerve over the centre white line to the other side of the road to avoid him."
The driver of the Transit van which collided with Mr Wigram shortly afterwards, Mr Kuwait Theirendran, stated that he was returning from Devon to Cinderford and had just past the Esso Garage at Wintles Hill when he saw a 'ghost like man appear on the left from nowhere with his arms up above his head.'
Mr Theirendran stated: "I saw him for a split second. He was stood on the road."
The coroner said "His instant reaction was to swerve right and put the brakes on really hard. But the crash was inevitable. He tried really hard to avoid hitting Mr Wigram but he was caught by the left edge of the van."
The van driver tested negative for both alcohol and drugs after the collision.
A police report on the collision said Mr Wigram was standing 1.3metres into the road from the kerb on the Newnham-bound lane.
The coroner concluded "It is clear that very sadly Mr Wigram was seriously injured when, as a pedestrian, he was struck by a motor vehicle. Given the evidence I have heard it seems appropriate that the conclusion I record is that of road traffic accident."
*A family tribute after Mr Wigram's death said he was the 'dearly beloved son of Gaby and Andrew, adored brother of Harry, Will and Alice, devoted brother-in-law to Niki, Lily and Foggy, and very loving uncle to Ivy, Polly, Jesse, and Billy. Best friend to so many."
His funeral was held at St Michael & All Angels, Poulton on June 30, 2022.
Mr Wigram was the second son of Baron Wigram - sometime Equerry to HRH The late Duke of Edinburgh - and his wife Gabrielle.
Major Andrew Wigram succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron in 2019.
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