Henry Stamford Thirsk: Yorkshire farmer and landowner was 'run over by his own vehicle' as investigation into his death concludes

A well-known Yorkshire farmer, hotelier and businessman was killed after his own vehicle ran him over after he had got out of it.

A pre-inquest review was held today into the death of Henry Stamford Thirsk, 74, almost exactly two years after the fatal incident on his land in Everingham, near Pocklington, which was initially described by police as ‘unexplained’.

However, an ‘extensive’ Humberside Police investigation into the circumstances has now concluded and the case has been passed to the senior coroner for Hull and East Riding.

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Sitting at Hull Coroner’s Court, Professor Paul Marks told members of the Thirsk family that there were many ‘unknowns that may never be known’ surrounding the events that led to his death from chest injuries.

Henry Thirsk owned the Feathers Hotel in PocklingtonHenry Thirsk owned the Feathers Hotel in Pocklington
Henry Thirsk owned the Feathers Hotel in Pocklington

Professor Marks said: “We know that Henry was tragically run over by his motor vehicle, but don’t know why he got out of the vehicle or the events immediately leading up to it. We may not be able to answer every question.”

The coroner said that during the full hearing he intends to play video footage from a police reconstruction of the incident which shows the ‘vehicle moving on a flat plane, but on a slight incline it can only go a certain distance’.

He will call Superintendent Craig Nicholson, who led the police investigation, as a witness, as well as a representative of the vehicle’s manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, who can provide technical advice and assistance about its workings.

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Also expected to give evidence in person are Mr Thirsk’s son Harry and wife Sarah-Jane, who is Harry’s stepmother. The manager of Mr Thirsk’s farm, Steve Baxter, will also be called as the family have challenged some of his witness statement.

Watching Pocklington Rugby Club with friendsWatching Pocklington Rugby Club with friends
Watching Pocklington Rugby Club with friends

Written evidence will be read out from a number of other witnesses, including Mr Thirsk’s friends George Cooper and John Waters, brother-in-law James Clegg and his accountant and personal assistant.

Mr Thirsk’s brother Thomas, who was present at the review hearing, told the coroner that some of the background information about his brother was ‘factually wrong’ and was ‘of no benefit to the court’, and Professor Marks clarified that he had called some witnesses to appear in person to resolve any disputes.

The inquest is expected to last three days.

Mr Thirsk was well-known in the shooting community and ran an arable farming enterprise. He also owned the Feathers Hotel in Pocklington and donated land for the town’s rugby and football clubs to play on.

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