Grandparents' death when car submerged in River Trent was accidental, inquest rules

Patricia and John Lillistone Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

An elderly couple who drowned when their car became submerged in the River Trent last year died by accident, an inquest has ruled.

Patricia and John Lillistone, from the village of Lowdham, in Nottinghamshire, died after their car entered the River Trent.

A huge police search began on February 1, 2021 after eyewitnesses reported seeing a car entering the water at Hoveringham and drifting down the river.

It took two weeks for specialist teams to retrieve the bodies of the elderly couple due to the fast flowing water and poor weather conditions.

Mr Lillistone, 83, a retired civil servant, was driving his Skoda Octavia when it entered the water and his wife, 82, a retired nurse, was a passenger.

Specialist teams search the river for two weeks to try to recover the bodies. Credit: BPM

Senior Coroner Mairin Casey said this was not a deliberate act, there was no evidence of any health issue such as a heart attack and no mechanical failings to the car.

The cause of death was drowning.

The family of the couple paid tribute to them at the time as "loving, caring parents and grandparents who were always there for family and friends".The family said: "Our family is devastated by the loss of two wonderful people and they will be dearly missed by all.

"We have many happy memories of our time spent together that we will cherish forever."

The court heard there had been two incidents, including this one, of a car entering the River Trent in Nottinghamshire in the past 10 years.

Since the incident more signs have gone up - warning of the potential of flooding in Hoveringham Road.

Higher kerbs are also being introduced in the car park between the asphalt and grass bank.