Woman killed on African holiday in horse trek tragedy
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A young woman was killed when she was thrown from a horse on a remote mountain trail during a dream holiday in Africa.
Gemma Wilson, 24, fell from the horse and was dragged 300ft along rocky terrain with her foot caught in the stirrup.
According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, an inquest heard how the university graduate from Leeds was on holiday with her fiancé, James Langton, and had not been given a helmet or tuition by the guides taking a group of tourists on a horse trek.
Miss Wilson was part of a group trek through the remote mountains near the Malealea Lodge in Lesotho, south-eastern Africa on 4 November 2009.
After the horse she was riding bolted, the 24-year-old fell from the saddle and suffered head and back injuries, including bleeding on the brain after being dragged along the ground.
The Daily Mail reported that the Nottingham inquest heard how the tour guides had not been issued with first aid kits, training or even mobile phones.
It took four hours for a helicopter ambulance to arrive after a fellow tourist's phone was used and this was only after guides had broken in to lockers to get Miss Wilson's insurance details.
Mr Langton, who was planning to propose to Miss Wilson at the end of their holiday, told the court that travellers were advised to take helmets before their holidays if they wanted to wear one and saw helmets hanging in the stables when they set off on the trek.
He said: 'This was a trip aimed at novice riders and I can say with 100 per cent certainty that we were not given any instructions on how to ride the horse.'
'The people on the ground weren't trained. Why would they put us in that position?'
Deputy Coroner Heidi Connor said: 'I am satisfied that even if Gemma was wearing a helmet, the outcome would have been the same.
'But I must consider that in other situations this could be the difference between life and death.'
The commercial director of Imaginative Traveller in 2009, which has become Peak Adventure, Martin Shapter, said the company no longer used the guides involved.
Gemma's father Stuart Wilson, 52, said he did not accept the verdict or the findings of the inquest.
'I was looking for closure today, but that doesn't appear to be the case,' he said.
'I plan to sit down and discuss this with my family and I am looking to appeal this decision. Gemma was exceptional and was going to be successful.
'Her death was devastating and James and the whole family have been traumatised by this.'
Gemma's mother Jean Clarke, who is divorced from her father, accused Imaginative Traveller of putting 'profits before safety' and urged people planning to book with the company to 'think twice'.
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