The family of an inseparable elderly couple who were discovered holding hands in the wreckage of a car crash that claimed their lives have spoken of their devastation following an inquest that found the pair died in a tragic accident.
John and Betty Hodgkiss died following the smash on the A458 Bridgnorth to Stourbridge at Wootton, Six Ashes. The Tipton couple’s Ford Mondeo collided with an Audi on a stretch of the road on June 7.
An inquest in Bridgnorth yesterday heard that evidence suggested Mr Hodgkiss, aged 82, had lost control of the car as he negotiated a curve, causing the car to drift over into the opposite lane.
Mr Hodgkiss died at the scene of the accident.
His 79-year-old wife was airlifted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she died the following evening.
The devoted couple had been married for 52 years.
Police accident investigator Constable Neil Williams told the inquest that the evidence suggested Mr Hodgkiss had failed to negotiate the bend correctly.
He said it could have been for a number of reasons including a temporary lack of attention, misjudging the curve or the speed of the vehicle, but there was insufficient evidence to suggest which of these may have been a factor.
Speaking after the inquest, the couple’s son David Hodgkiss, of Dudley, said his family had suffered a ‘terrible loss’.
“We did take some comfort in Mum and Dad passing away doing something they loved,” he said. “They loved being out and about and going for drives and that is what they were doing. Unfortunately it ended in tragedy. No apportioning blame or pointing the finger can bring them back.”
Mr Hodgkiss also paid tribute to the police officers who had investigated the accident and liaised with the family since.
Coroner Mr John Ellery said: “The evidence is clear that this was a tragic accident.” He recorded a verdict of accidental death on the couple.
Mr Hodgkiss was a retired bus driver and former army corporal.
His wife worked in a variety of jobs including as a cleaner at Cole’s furniture store in Bilston before the couple retired. They had four grandchildren.
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