Resumed in The Hatfield Coroner’s Court on 15th and 16th December 2015
Jamie was tragically killed whilst taking part in a quad bike excursion whilst staying at The Kasbah Tamadot, Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan retreat.
The Inquest heard from Jamie’s widow, Sally Hulse and two of the other participants in the quad bike trip, Ric Ramswell and Reuben Fuller about the many failings in the way this ill-fated quad-bike trip was organised and run which led to Jamie falling to his death down a one hundred foot cliff. In her evidence Sally Hulse said:
“There is no way in a million years Jamie and I would have agreed to go on that route if we had been told how dangerous it was and that there had been previous accidents and that we would be asked to sign disclaimers and that they would put profits before our lives”.
Jon Brown, the Managing Director of Virgin Limited Edition apologised to the family in Court and accepted that this mountainous route was not suitable for this group of beginners and children and that there was no effective oversight by the hotel of the way the trip was run on that day.
Andy Heitman, a quad bike expert, told the inquest that, “this route was amongst the most hazardous I have ever seen”. He listed seven factors that could have meant the accident was avoided.
The Senior Coroner for Hertford, Geoffrey Sullivan when summing up said:
That Jamie Hulse’s death was “contributed to by 1) defects in the quad bike 2) inadequate instruction and safety equipment and 3) it was an unsuitable route for an inexperienced rider”.
Julian Chamberlayne, Head of International Injury at Stewarts, who represented Sally Hulse commented on the Inquest:
“It was really important to Sally and her children that the many failings in relation to this quad bike trip were heard in Court and that responsibility was taken for events leading up to Jamie’s wholly avoidable death. Virgin have clearly learnt lessons and have stopped offering quad bike trips on their holidays. I hope other UK holiday companies take a very careful look at whether any quad bike trips offered are really suitable for their holiday makers.”
Sally Hulse reflecting on the inquest said,
“Jamie died 17 months ago today. I will never come to terms with what happened but at least I have achieved something by Virgin ceasing to offer quad bike trips.”
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