Johnny Kingdom: TV wildlife presenter’s death accidental

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Johnny Kingdom’s first series on BBC2, A Year On Exmoor, was watched by more than three million people

Wildlife television presenter Johnny Kingdom was killed when a digger he was driving toppled over, an inquest heard.

The 79-year-old died on his land near South Molton, Devon, on 6 September 2018.

An inquest at County Hall in Exeter heard Mr Kingdom had been moving logs with a three-and-a-half tonne Hitachi digger.

Assistant coroner Luisa Nicholson concluded the death was accidental.

The inquest heard Mr Kingdom had been trying to move an oak log estimated to weigh 1.25 tonnes.

“The weight of the tree was too heavy and combined with the incline of the land it caused the digger to topple over,” the coroner said.

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Julie Kingdon

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Johnny Kingdom with Bambi, a three-legged deer he took in and cared for

Mr Kingdom was found at about 20:00 BST by his son Stuart.

“The top side of the digger cab was pinning him by the waist,” he said in a statement read out at the inquest.

The cause of death was given as crush asphyxia and Mr Kingdom also had multiple pelvic fractures.

Stuart Kingdom described his father as “the life and soul of the party”.

“He was always joking and laughing and always had a story to tell,” he said.

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Hundreds gathered to celebrate the presenter’s life at his funeral in September

Speaking outside the inquest Mr Kingdom’s wife Julie said: “I’m lost without him. He was my life.”

The couple met when she was 14 and had been married for 56 years.

His sister, Julie Parkin, said: “We’re all still heartbroken. We love and miss him dearly.

“Johnny died tragically doing what he loved best – working on their beloved land where he spent many hours feeding and filming his wildlife.”

Mr Kingdom was born and bred on the edge of Exmoor and worked as a gravedigger, a quarryman and a lumberjack until an accident whilst out logging.

He then began making wildlife films and in 2006 his first series on BBC2, A Year On Exmoor, was watched by more than three million people.

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