TV star Phil Spencer’s parents died in river accident, coroner rules

todayDecember 19, 2023 4

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TV star Phil Spencer’s parents died in river accident, coroner rules

The parents of Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer died as a result of a car accident, a coroner has concluded.

Richard Spencer, 89, known as David, and Anne Spencer, 82, were driving to lunch when their car tipped over the edge of a bridge and plunged into the Nailbourne River near their farm in Littlebourne, Kent, in August.

The couple’s vehicle overturned, and they were submerged in around 3ft of water.

Their full-time carer, who was travelling in the back seat of the car, was able to escape and call for help.

The inquest heard that the couple were already unconscious when people arrived from the farm and tried to resuscitate them.

They were later pronounced dead at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate.

At an inquest in Maidstone on Tuesday, area coroner for north-east Kent Sarah Clarke said: “These circumstances are some of the most tragic I have heard.”

‘Extremely narrow’ bridge

The inquest heard Mrs Spencer was driving near the couple’s farm and were “chatting when the car veered very slightly to the offside”.

The car then tipped off the “extremely narrow” bridge, primarily used as access for those residing and working on the farm – where Mr and Mrs Spencer had lived and worked their whole adult lives.


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A police report read at the inquest said it was a “most tragic incident” and that, despite Mrs Spencer being familiar with the road, a momentary lapse in concentration had caused the car to slip.

The police report added that the family had said Mrs Spencer had no issues with her driving.

The inquest heard Mr Spencer died from a lung injury called aspiration pneumonitis due to near drowning, while Mrs Spencer died from aspiration pneumonia, a hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury, and near drowning.

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Hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, while aspiration pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by inhaling food or liquid.

‘Amazing parents’

Phil Spencer paid tribute to his “amazing parents” following their deaths and said the incident was “what God had planned for them” so they could stay together after six decades of marriage and four children.

The 54-year-old presenter, best known for co-hosting Location, Location, Location alongside Kirsty Allsopp, said at the time: “As a family, we are all trying to hold on to 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.”

Written by: Newsroom

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