Inquest hears tragic death of Rushden motorcyclist killed by falling boulder on French mountain

David Smith was killed by a falling boulder on a mountain pass in France.
David Smith was killed by a falling boulder on a mountain pass in France.

A Rushden motorcyclist was struck on the head by a falling boulder and "killed instantly" on holiday in France, an inquest has heard.

David Smith, of Rushden, was on his annual touring holiday near Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage in June last year when his two friends lost sight of him on a mountain pass.

At Mr Smith’s inquest today (September 6), the coroner heard how his friends came around a bend to find broken plastic in the road and saw him lying in the road.

In a statement read out by the coroner Andrew Geary, who was riding behind David on the French mountain pass, said: “I did not see the boulder that had hit David.

“Later I was shown the hole in the Tarmac that the falling boulder from the mountain had left.

“His helmet had come off. We later found it upside down in a tree off the pass. It had been smashed.

“David’s death has affected me and my son [who was also on the holiday]. It has been very hard.”

The coroner heard that the 49-year-old had been wearing “a high-quality helmet and full bike leathers” as he always did when he went out on his motorcycle.

A post-mortem examination showed that David had most likely been killed instantly at the scene.

In a statement read out by the coroner, David’s wife Michelle said: “THe last time I spoke to David, he was happy and enjoying his holiday with his friends and was very well.

“We feel heartbroken. His death has left a massive hole in our lives. We miss him so much.”

Senior coroner Anne Pember recorded Mr Smith’s death as accidental.