A BBC wildlife present was killed in a tragic accident after being crushed by a digger on his farm, an inquest has heard.
Johnny Kingdom — best known for his BBC Four show A Year with the Birds — was 79 years of age when his vehicle toppled over and trapped him last September.
He was trying to move a section of a heavy tree trunk, estimated to weight 1.25 ton, when the accident occurred.
The coroner was told that Johnny had not been wearing a seatbelt and was crushed to death.
He was found by one of his sons and his wife who became concerned after he had not come home from work.
The coroner gave a verdict of an accidental death caused by crush asphyxia at the inquest, held in Exeter, Devon.
His wife, Julie, said in a statement: “He generally kept himself busy. He had owned a 3.5 ton digger for 10 years which he used regularly for heavy work.”
She last saw him at 10:30am, when she headed out to meet their granddaughter.
Julie and their son, Stuart, began searching for him when he had failed to be in touch by 8pm.
She continued: “We found John beneath his digger. He was dead.”
Stuart’s statement said: “The top side of the digger cab was pinning him by the waist.”
Four months before his passing, John suffered a suspected stroke, leaving him unable to drive for a month.
However, Stuart continued: “Before he died his health was back to normal. Ironically his test results, which came back after he died, gave him the all clear.”
Paying tribute to the star, he added: “My dad was always the life and soul of the party. He was always joking and laughing and never acted his age.
“He always had a story to tell, was well-known, popular and everyone loved him.”
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