Coniston Hotel director arrested after mother of the bride killed in car park at wedding party

Nick Bannister
Nick Bannister
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A 66-year-old woman attending her daughter's wedding was struck by a Range Rover and killed outside the Coniston Hotel.

Police have now named the victim of the fatal collision in the hotel grounds near Skipton on Friday evening.

Judith Wadsworth

Judith Wadsworth

Judith Barbara Wadsworth, 66, from Baildon, was believed to have been at the hotel complex to attend her daughter's wedding.

Who are the Bannisters? The Dales business family who own Coniston Hotel

She was struck by a Range Rover in the car park and died at the scene despite an air ambulance being called.

The hotel's director Nick Bannister, 60, has been arrested and released pending further investigation.

Nick Bannister, second right, with members of his family at the Coniston estate in 2015

Nick Bannister, second right, with members of his family at the Coniston estate in 2015

The Bannisters have owned the Coniston estate, which includes a shoot, spa and 4x4 driving course, since 1969, when Nick's father Michael bought it.

In a statement, Mrs Wadsworth’s family said:-

“Judith was a beautiful selfless person and no words can express our sense of loss and devastation right now.

“She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who will be missed by everyone who knew her.

“We’re still struggling to come to terms with her death as a family, and we’d urge the media to respect our privacy at this very difficult time.”

Mrs Wadsworth’s family are currently being supported by specially-trained officers from North Yorkshire Police.

A witness to the accident told The Sun that Judith arrived at the hotel with her daughter and the pair were heading to their rooms when she returned to her car to get something from the boot and was struck by the Range Rover. The wedding was cancelled but the hotel has now re-opened.

The Bannisters are well-known in the racing community, and Nick became chairman of Haydock Park Racecourse last year. He owned the Cheltenham Festival-winning horse Hussard Collonges and one of his three sons, Harry, is a leading jump jockey.

A member of the Bannister family appeared to refer to the incident in a Facebook post and asked for the public to avoid speculating on the circumstances of the collision:-

"As many as you know my family are involved in a tragic and devastating accident which is a very difficult and upsetting situation for everyone involved. It would be much appreciated if we didn’t have to witness people sharing it all over Facebook, especially as the facts of this tragedy have not yet been made public. I appreciate everyone’s concern and understanding."

The Bannisters faced tragedy of their own in 2013, when Nick's brother Thomas Bannister, 48, was killed in a car crash by drink driver Debbie Barker, 43.

Barker had been giving Thomas a lift in her Range Rover after a function at the Coniston Hotel when she crashed it into a wall, killing him, while she was twice the legal limit. She fled the scene without calling 999.

She was sentenced to three years in jail.

Barker, of Gargrave, called Thomas's father Michael two hours after the accident, but he was pronounced dead at the scene and had been thrown from the car. She was later found walking towards her home by police.

She had been a close friend of the Bannisters.

Michael and his wife Ethne's eldest child and only daughter, Louise, died young from cancer after having four children. They have a third son, Richard, who runs their Boundary Mill retail business.