Farmer drowned in stream after intentional car crash, inquest hears

The farmer drove his Land Rover down a 200-metre drop at Buttertubs Pass
The farmer drove his Land Rover down a 200-metre drop at Buttertubs Pass

A Yorkshire Dales sheep farmer drowned in a stream after he deliberately drove his Land Rover down a hillside after his marriage had broken down, an inquest has heard.

Norman Alan Busby drove his vehicle through a fence at Buttertubs Pass, according to The Yorkshire Post, which reported Monday's (16 November) inquest.

The 51-year-old survived the crash and began walking downhill towards the village of Thwaite.

Police and a mountain rescue team later found his body face down in a stream that same day.

The incident, which occurred on 11 January this year, happened shortly after his wife had announced their 13-year marriage was over.

A postmortem gave the cause of Mr Busby's death as drowning with a road traffic collision as a contributory factor.

The inquest, which was held at County Hall in Northallerton, heard that there were no signs of serious injuries following the collision.

However, the pathologoist said there was a possibility the farmer had suffered a brain injury which left him 'confused and disorientated', causing him to enter the stream.

Coroner John Broadbridge said a suicide verdict could not be made as it was impossible to conclude that Mr Busby ended up in the stream purposefully or accidentally.

"It seems his intention was to turn off the road and it may be that he expected to suffer fatal injury. He was alive when he entered the stream," he said.

"It is difficult to determine one way or another. It could suggest he was walking downhill to seek assistance, or he could have been looking for some other way to harm himself.

"I cannot assume that, having been thwarted by surviving the collision, that he then immersed himself in the water."