The son of a royal equerry died when he was hit by a van while standing in the road while trying to hitchhike, an inquest has learned.
Robert Wigram, 42, known as ‘Bertie’, died of multiple traumatic injuries after the collision on the A48 Gloucester-Lydney road at Wintles Hill, near Westbury on Severn, just after 3am on June 13 last year, the inquest was told of Gloucester.
Assistant Gloucestershire Coroner Roland Wooderson recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Mr Wigram, whose father Andrew, 3rd Baron Wigram, was equerry to Prince Philip, lived in the High Nash community of Coleford.
High Nash supports adults with learning disabilities, autism, brain injury, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction.
Robert Wigram, 42, the son of a royal equerry, died when he was hit by a van while standing in the road while trying to hitchhike, an inquest has found
The inquest heard that on 12 June last year Mr Wigram, who lived independently in the community and was at ‘full capacity’, told staff he was going swimming in Lydney.
However, staff later received a report that Mr Wigram was ‘strongly intoxicated’ and had fallen. Then they were told he had been taken to hospital.
At 6:40 pm he called High Nash and said he was with the paramedics and waiting to be seen at the hospital. Just before midnight, they heard he had reported chest pains when he was taken to hospital. The staff tried to call him at the time, but got no answer.
The coroner said he had received a number of statements that night from people driving on the A48 who had seen a man on the verge. One of the motorists was police assistant Christine Smith.
She stated that while driving near Minsterworth at around 11pm, she saw a man walking on the side of the road and noticed him ‘limping forward’ a bit.
“He kept wobbling and looked like he was out of booze,” she said.
Another witness, Neville Ireland, stated that as he drove towards Chaxhill at around 11:50 pm, he saw a man standing on the shoulder.
Mr Wigram, known as ‘Bertie’, died of multiple traumatic injuries after the collision on the A48 Gloucester-Lydney road at Wintles Hill, near Westbury on Severn
‘He looked at the road and looked at me,’ Mr Ireland said. “He had his thumb up like he was riding an elevator. He just stood there.’
Shortly afterwards he turned back along the road when he saw the man again, about five hundred meters from the first location where he had seen him, Mr. Ireland said.
“This time he was in the middle of the southbound lane. He looked at me and waved one of his arms up and down. I went past him and he just stood still.’
Another motorist, Anthony Willis-Dent, stated that he was approaching Westbury on Severn at about 12:10 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. on June 13 and saw a man on the road.
“His right foot was about a foot from the curb,” he said. He looked at me and held up his left arm. It was clear to me that he was trying to hitch a ride.
“He didn’t move at all, so I had to swerve across the center white line to the other side of the road to avoid him.”
The driver of the Transit van that collided with Mr Wigram, Mr Kuwait Theirendran, said he was returning from Devon to Cinderford and had just passed the Esso garage on Wintles Hill when he spotted a ‘ghostly man out of nowhere’. saw the left side appear with his arms above his head’.
Mr Wigram’s father was Andrew Wigram, 3rd Baron Wigram, an equerry to the late Prince Philip (pictured)
Mr Theirendran said, ‘I saw him for a fraction of a second. He was on the road.’
The coroner said: ‘His immediate reaction was to swerve to the right and brake really hard. But the crash was inevitable. He tried very hard not to hit Mr. Wigram, but he was caught by the left edge of the van.”
The driver of the van tested negative for both alcohol and drugs after the collision.
According to a police report on the collision, Mr Wigram stood four feet from the curb on Newnham lane.
The coroner concluded: ‘It is clear that Mr Wigram was very sadly seriously injured when he was struck as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle. Given the evidence I have heard, it seems appropriate that the conclusion I draw is that of a traffic accident.’
A family tribute after Mr Wigram’s death said he was the “dearly beloved son of Gaby and Andrew, adored brother to Harry, Will and Alice, devoted brother-in-law to Niki, Lily and Foggy, and very loving uncle to Ivy, Polly . , Jesse and Billy. Best friend of so many.’
His funeral took place on 30 June last year at St Michael & All Angels, Poulton.
Mr Wigram was the second son of Baron Wigram – once Equerry of HRH the late Duke of Edinburgh – and his wife Gabrielle.
Major Andrew Wigram succeeded to the title of third baronet in 2019.