By Eleanor Barlow, PA
Extra road safety measures will be put in place during this year’s filming of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! after a woman taking a picture of the location was hit by a car and died, an inquest has heard.
Sharn Hughes, 58, had gone with her husband David Elfyn Hughes, to see the lights on Gwrych Castle in north Wales, where the reality series was filmed, on November 21st last year, a hearing at Ruthin County Hall was told on Tuesday.
In a statement, Mr Hughes said the couple, from Prestatyn, had parked in a layby on the A547 at about 5pm because Mrs Hughes wanted to take a picture of the castle to send to a friend.
He was walking ahead of his wife to find a good vantage point near the Abergele landmark, when he heard a loud bang, the inquest heard.
Mr Hughes said he thought there had been a car crash so assisted with stopping traffic, not realising his wife was involved.
He said: “I presumed Sharn had already crossed the road and gone to help.”
It was not until he spoke to police that he realised Mrs Hughes had been the victim, the court heard.
He said her death came as a “total shock” to the family, including their children Arron and Annah, and described Mrs Hughes as a “beacon of light” with a “joyous and charitable attitude to life”.
He said: “Her curiosity led to her wanting to see the lights at Gwrych Castle, which unfortunately led to her untimely and tragic death.”
The coroner’s court heard Shaun Davies was driving his Volvo estate car from Abergele when Mrs Hughes, who was wearing dark clothing, stepped out from an archway leading to the castle into the road in front of him.
Forensic collision investigator Simon Richards told the court there was no footpath on that part of the road and no street lighting.
He said it was unlikely Mr Davies could have done anything to avoid the collision while travelling at the speed limit of 60mph.
Coroner for North Wales east and central John Gittins said the chief executive of Conwy County Borough Council Iwan Davies had written to him outlining additional safety measures which would be in place for the filming of this year’s series of the popular ITV reality show.
These included a reduced speed limit of 30mph for the road up to and beyond the scene of the fatal collision.
Mrs Hughes’ family said they were grateful for the changes.
They told the court £5,000 had been raised following her death for a foodbank Mrs Hughes had collected for.
Mr Gittins told the family: “I’m absolutely certain that, regardless of the horrendous circumstances leading to her passing, you must be incredibly proud of this woman.”
He recorded a conclusion of death arising from a road traffic collision, with the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, hosted by Ant and Dec, was filmed at Gwrych Castle instead of its usual home of Australia last year due to pandemic travel restrictions and will return to North Wales for a second series later this year.