AN EXPERIENCED hiker from Warwick fell to his death in Norway aged just 21, an inquest heard on Friday.
James Witham, a Maths student at Southampton University, was on a summer hiking trip with eight others when he died on 20th June, most likely from slipping off a cliff while trying to take a photo.
A former boy scout passionate about photography, he left the group on the day to hike further up the mountain by himself.
His father David Witham, told the inquest at Warwickshire Justice Centre said: “Going on a more general walk and then deciding that he wanted to do something more difficult was not out of character.”
A statement from Steve McClure, who organised the trip, read out at the inquest said on the way up James was out in front ahead of the group. “He liked to hike fast,” said Steve.
“James decided that he did want to hike further, and the rest of the group went down the mountain. We joked that he would most likely catch us up.”
When he did not return, a search party of 50 people, helicopters and dogs went looking for him.
Found the next morning, a doctor confirmed he had died of head injuries with multiple fractures to the skull consistent with a fall.
Senior Coroner for Warwickshire, Sean McGovern, recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Speaking to James’ parents, he said: “Quite how it happened we will never know, but it was likely to be some kind of slip. My condolences to you, there is nothing I can say to ease your pain.”
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