Inquest Into West Yorkshire Segway Death: Latest

A multimillionaire businessman who fell from a cliff in West Yorkshire while riding his Segway scooter probably died due to an "act of courtesy'' to a fellow dog walker.

An inquest in Leeds heard that Jimi Heselden fell 42ft from a footpath above the River Wharfe near Boston Spa as he was taking his dog for a walk close to his home on September 26 last year.

Mr Heselden had bought the European licence for the Segway a few years before but was better known as a philanthropist and the successful owner of Hesco Bastion, which builds containers used to protect troops around the world.

Camp Bastion in Afghanistan is named after his firm, the inquest heard.

Today, dog walker Sean Christie told the coroner he was walking near Jackdaw Crag, by the river, when he saw Mr Heselden at the top of a steep incline apparently weighing up how he was going to tackle the sloping footpath on his X2, which is a rough terrain version of the Segway.

Mr Christie said that, from 40ft to 50ft away, he saw the businessman move a short distance backwards in a movement he assumed was to make room for him to pass.

He said Mr Heselden appeared to wobble and then went out of view.

Mr Christie said he found the 62-year-old face down and lifeless in the river below.

Recording an verdict of accidental death, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff told Mr Heselden's family: "I think it's probable - I think typical of Jimi and the type of man he was - he held back and waited as an act of courtesy to allow Mr Christie more room.

"In so doing, he's attempted to reverse the Segway back. As a result of that he's got into difficulty.''

A post-mortem found Mr Heselden died from "multiple blunt force injuries to the chest and spine consistent with a fall while riding a gyrobike''.

Experts found no fault with the Segway and detectives found no evidence of any third party involvement or foul play.

Mr Hinchliff told the hearing: "It's such a shame and tragedy that such a great man should have died in this way.''

Mr Heselden was reported to have a fortune of £166 million at his death, making him one of the 400 richest people in the UK.

His family did not want to speak after the hearing today but their solicitor, Rob Rode, read a statement.

It said: "The inquest today has confirmed what Jimi's family have understood for some time, namely that his untimely death was the result of a tragic accident.

"Today's proceedings bring some closure for Jimi's family on their tragic loss.

"They are proud that his spirit lives on in Jimbo's Fund, a new charitable project launched by the Leeds Community Foundation with a £23 million donation from Jimi, supporting projects local to Leeds that were so close to his heart.''