Coffee entrepreneur died in accident on ride-on lawnmower

Coffee entrepreneur died in accident on ride-on lawnmower

Coffee entrepreneur, 44, died in freak accident on ride-on lawnmower after plunging 13ft down river bank following afternoon of heavy drinking at his cottage

  • Simon Theaker, 44, was the co-founder of Black Mountain Roast coffee company
  • Was found dead beneath his ride-on lawnmower at home in Wales in May 2020
  • Toxicology reports found he had been four times over the drink-drive limit

A coffee entrepreneur was killed in a freak accident on his ride-on lawnmower after an afternoon drinking session, an inquest has heard.

Simon Theaker, 44, was four times over the drink-drive limit when he was found dead under the lawnmower at his country home in Cusop, near Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales.

An inquest heard had he driven the 250kg Honda lawnmower from his family farm to his nearby cottage after drinking alcohol.

He was discovered by his fiancée Karen Divito hours later as he lay ‘face down in the river’ with the mower on top of him.

Simon Theaker, 44, (pictured) co-founder of Black Mountain Roast coffee company was found dead in May 2020 beneath his ride-on lawnmower at his home in Cusop, near Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales

Police and an air ambulance rushed to the scene but Simon was pronounced dead in May last year.

In a written statement, Ms Divito said: ‘I went round the back of it and then saw the lawnmower in the stream.

‘My initial thought was: “What an idiot – what has he done?”.

‘I thought that he had gone to get the Land Rover with the winch to get it out.

‘At some point I realised I could see legs under the mower. After a few seconds it registered that Simon was under the mower.

‘I then ran down into the stream and into the water. He was on his front with the mower on his back.

Theaker was discovered by his fiancée Karen Divito hours later as he lay ‘face down in the river’ with the mower on top of him. Pictured: Theaker (left) and his business partner Edward Mungo Leir (right)

‘His head was facing upstream and his right hand out in front of him.’

Toxicology reports found he had 336mg of alcohol per decilitre of blood – the legal driving limit is 80mg.

Ms Divito added: ‘When I spoke to him on the day he was happy in himself and was in a good mood. He did not sound intoxicated or slur words.’

The inquest in Pontypridd, South Wales, heard Simon had been out on a two-hour walk with his father John earlier in the day.

His father John described him as having a ‘dependency’ on alcohol but said he seemed ‘better than his normal self’ during the walk.

John said: ‘On the day of the collision he was in a good place. I had no suspicion he had been drinking – I did not smell any alcohol upon him and he was steady on his feet.

‘His behaviour on the day of the accident was normal and he was in a good mood. He could hold a conversation and his words were not slurred.’

Simon’s mother Ailsa added that her son would not normally have volunteered to mow the lawn if he had been drinking.

Simon’s death came four years after he set up his Black Mountain Roast company with business partner Edward Mungo Leir, 44. Pictured: Some of the products sold by the company 

A post mortem examination found the cause of death to be alcohol toxicity and positional asphyxia.

The inquest heard Simon would drink red wine most evenings and had done for a number of years.

Coroner Thomas Atherton recorded a conclusion of accidental death contributed to by alcohol.

He said: ‘It is more than likely, in my opinion, that because of the amount of alcohol he had taken his judgement in controlling the sit-on lawnmower at the critical point at the edge of the lawn and the slope caused the accident.

Edward (pictured) died of a heart attack at the age of 48 in 2017 and Simon went on to continue running the business using beans grown in mountainous regions in the Southern Hemisphere

‘It is more than likely he misjudged the situation and went over the edge of the lawn with the consequences that he tumbled into the river, the lawnmower also tumbled with him and pinned him down in the water.

Simon’s death came four years after he set up his Black Mountain Roast company with business partner Edward Mungo Leir, 44.

Edward died of a heart attack at the age of 48 in 2017 and Simon went on to continue running the business using beans grown in mountainous regions in the Southern Hemisphere.

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