In an effort to save them, Phil Spencer’s late parents’ caregiver crept out of the submerged car window.
In August, while driving to a pub for lunch, Anne Spencer, 82, and her husband Richard (89), died in their car. Their estate in Littlebourne, close to Canterbury, Kent, was traversed by a shallow tributary river when the car veered off the access road.
The couple, who had been wed for almost 60 years, was taken to the hospital after being pulled out of the car. The couple’s carer was in the back seat of the car, and Richard was occupying the front seat. The car slipped off the edge and overturned as it approached the bridge, according to the inquest into Anne’s death. Three feet of water covered the three people inside.
Their full-time live-in carer, according to Sarah Clarke, the area coroner for North East Kent, managed to flee through the passenger window and made a call for assistance. Before paramedics took Richard and Anne to Margate, Kent’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital, they had been submerged underwater for about 20 minutes. Sadly, at 9.55 p.m., Anne was declared dead.
On Monday morning, County Hall in Maidstone, Kent, opened an inquest into Anne’s death. Around 12.20 p.m. on August 18, the court learned that Anne was driving her Toyota down a private lane from the family’s house to obstructing the Nail Bourne River on their property. Lung infection and brain damage caused Anne’s death.
The car tipped over the edge, hit the river bottom, and overturned, submerging all three of its occupants in three feet of water, according to Mrs. Clarke’s testimony to the inquest.
Through the passenger window, the carer broke free and yelled for assistance. Aspiration pneumonia, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, and submersion in water (near drowning) were listed as Anne’s causes of death. On December 19, at 3.30 p.m., Mrs. Clarke scheduled a full inquest into the deaths of Anne and Richard.
After almost drowning in the car accident, Phil’s father passed away from a lung injury last month, according to an inquest. On August 20, Location, Location-Location host Phil paid homage to his “amazing parents” in an Instagram post. He also mentioned that David had been given a dementia diagnosis and that Anne had Parkinson’s disease.
He said, “As a family, we’re all trying to remember that Mom and Dad went together and that neither of us will ever have to deal with losing the other.” which in and of itself is a blessing. Mums Parkinson’s and Dads Dementia had been getting worse, and the long term future was going to be difficult, despite the fact that they were both in excellent health in the days prior (hence the sudden idea to go out to lunch).
“So much so that Mum recently told me she had given up thinking “now it looks like we’ll probably go together.” So they did, in fact. God had prepared them for that, and it was a wise plan. On the farm drive, the car rolled over a bridge and into the river while moving very slowly. They would have held hands under the water and silently snuck away if there had been no physical wounds, and I seriously doubt they even tried to fight it.
The alarm was quickly raised because their carer, who was in the car, was able to exit through a back window. My brother pulled the seat belts out of the river using a penknife, as many farmers do, but they never recovered consciousness. All family members agree that if there can ever be a “good end,” this was it, despite being incredibly depressed and shocked beyond belief.
After almost 60 years of marriage, Phil continued, “I know it will be comforting in the future to pass away together on the farm they so loved. It feels terrible right now. Mom and Dad are together, which is exactly where they wanted to be.
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