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Phil Spencer’s parents were trapped underwater for 20 minutes after car went into river


Nov 20, 2023

Phil Spencer’s mum and dad died following a car accident earlier this year.

The TV star's mum Anne, 82, and dad Richard, 89, died in August when their car went into a river. They were on their way to a pub for lunch when their car veered off the access road into a shallow tributary river running through their estate in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, Kent.

Richard and Anne, who were married for almost 60 years, were pulled from the car and taken to the hospital. Richard and Anne died later that day in hospital.

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An inquest into Anne’s death was opened at County Hall in Maidstone, Kent, this morning. Area Coroner for North East Kent, Sarah Clarke, told the court Anne was driving her Toyota down a private lane from the family home towards a bridge on their land, which passed over the Nail Bourne River, around 12:20pm on August 18. Reading, Basingstoke, Berkshire

Richard was in the front passenger seat of the car, and the couple’s carer was in the back of the vehicle. The inquest heard that as the car approached the bridge, it slipped off the edge and overturned – submerging them all into 3ft of water.

Sarah Clarke said the carer managed to escape through the passenger window and called for help. But the court was told Richard and Anne were submerged underwater for around 20 minutes. Paramedics arrived and took the couple to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate, Kent, where Anne was pronounced dead at 9:55pm.

‌Mrs Clarke said her cause of death was given as aspiration pneumonia and hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and submersion in water (near drowning). Aspiration pneumonia is defined as an inflammation and infection of the lungs or large airways caused by inhaling food or liquid.‌ Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury occurs when the brain experiences a decrease in oxygen or blood flow.

‌Mrs Clarke set a date for a full inquest into Anne and Richard’s deaths for 3:30pm on December 19 at Oakwood House in Maidstone. Last month an inquest opening at County Hall heard that Phil’s dad died of a lung injury after nearly drowning in the car accident on the family farm.

‌On October 30, Mrs Clarke told the court David failed to regain consciousness following the accident and was pronounced dead in hospital. His cause of death was given as Aspiration Pneumonitis – an injury of the lungs – on the basis of near drowning.

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