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Ribble Valley man died in tractor accident
9:00am Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
A FORMER racehorse owner was crushed to death by his tractor after crashing it into a field, a coroner’s court heard.
John Layland, 77, from Newholme, near Gisburn, was driving home along Kiln Lane when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed through a hedge and into a nearby field on the evening of July 18.
The pensioner was found the next morning by a passerby, who rushed to the nearby pub, The Buck Inn, for help.
The coroner’s court in Clitheroe heard that Mr Layland’s wrist was in a cast after recently breaking it and that it could have hampered his ability to control the tractor.
It also heard that he had turned his engine off whilst travelling down the hill leading out of Paythorn village seconds before the incident.
Dr Richard Prescott, who conducted the post mortem, said that Mr Layland, who lived at Demesne Farm, suffered a fractured skull and broken ribs which he said are consistent with crush injuries.
He added that he would have died instantly and that the blood alcohol level was not high.
Rachel Carroll, landlady at The Buck Inn, Paythorn, said: “He was at the pub on that evening and he was not a big drinker and only had a couple of whiskeys.
“I think he came to the pub more for the social aspect of it.
“We all saw him heading out of the village on his tractor and I heard him knock the engine off when he was going down the hill, but I thought nothing of it because he did it every time.”
Josephine Lund said: “My husband and I drove past the scene the next morning and saw his tractor in an odd position in the field.
“We rushed to the pub and I went back with Mrs Carroll to check everything was all right.”
Carl Rung, who lives in Kiln Lane, said: “I used to see him almost every day passing the house on his tractor and then I would hear him turn the engine off as he went down the hill.
“I think it’s about 600 yards to the bottom and you could reach quite a speed if you free wheeled down it.”
PC Richard Harrison, who attended the scene, said: “The tyre marks on the road surface gave the impression that he had tried to apply the brakes before entering the field.”
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