John Spurling: Inquest to be held into Australian tourist's death at Aysgarth Falls after case against lorry driver collapses

An inquest into the death of an Australian tourist killed in a collision with an HGV at a Dales beauty spot will go ahead after the case against the lorry driver was thrown out of court.

John Spurling, 74, was on a dream trip to Yorkshire when he was struck by a lorry after getting out of his hire car and crossing a bridge to admire Aysgarth Falls in March 2020.

HGV driver Jack Warburton, now 30, from Crewe, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but denied the offence and a trial date was set for March this year.

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However the case was thrown out of York Crown Court after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against Mr Warburton - a decision Mr Spurling's family supported.

John Spurling visiting Harrogate

The inquest will now take place in October and examine the circumstances of the collision.

Mr Spurling's daughter Sonya Martin, who travelled from Australia for the trial, said: "The judge said that both the forensic reports and prosecution were in complete agreement on the circumstances surrounding my dad’s death. It was adjourned for our lawyer to call the CPS to ask if this case should continue. Finally the CPS said no, abandon it and the judge said there is no case to answer.

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"The driver, Mr Warburton, did absolutely nothing wrong. In fact his driving was impeccable. The collision really was a freak accident. The driver and his fiancé with whom we briefly interacted with were so relieved, as they should be. We were all in tears. We never wanted a conviction.

Aysgarth Falls

"The judge was incredibly generous in inviting me back to his chambers to explain his decision, and North Yorkshire Police have been absolutely outstanding in fulfilling their duties and assisting me."

Mr Spurling, a retired industrial relations expert and Australian Navy veteran, had decided to visit Yorkshire after losing his wife in 2019. He was driving between Whitby and Hawes on the day he died and had also spent time in Grimsby, where his own father was born before emigrating.

According to his family, he 'loved' Yorkshire and had visited towns such as Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Malton and Scarborough.