Shropshire Star

'I lost my world' says widow of man who drowned as diving instructor admits failings

The widow of a man who died in a diving accident has spoken of losing the love of her life and her world.

Angela Clarke said she felt completely let down by the diving school after her husband's death

Angela Clarke said she is still dealing with the devastation of the death of her husband Roger, who drowned in a diving accident at Stoney Cove in Leicestershire in June 2018. Last month, diving instructor Lance Palmer admitted failings that led to Roger Clarke's death.

The 59-year-old spoke of how she felt her whole life had been taken away from her on the day her husband died.

She said: "If it hadn't been for my son, my daughter-in-law, my grandson, who came along after Roger died, and my friends, I don't think I would be here anymore.

"I lost my world and my reason for living, but I have to be here for my son and my grandson and I have to do this for them.

"We had to fight all the way to prove it wasn't Roger's fault as I know he did nothing wrong and it was proved in the inquest that he did nothing wrong."

Ms Clarke said she was still having counselling following the death of her husband, currently going once a month, and said the whole experience following his death had been a difficult and awful time.

She said: "I'm still getting counselling once a month, which is down from once a week after he died, but it was the amount of time from when he died to when we had the funeral that was so tough.

"After the post mortem, they took him down to pathology for 18 weeks before they would even give him back to me for the funeral, so he died in June, but we didn't have the funeral until October 26.

"Even then, I thought I would be able to give him a kiss and say goodbye and I couldn't even do that, so I just feel like everything was taken away from me.

"I met him when I was 11 when we were at school, starting going out with him at 14, and we were together for 41 years and married nearly 34 years."

Ms Clarke said she was selling the family home in Stafford and moving a smaller house in Lichfield as she couldn't bear living in such a big house without her husband.

Roger Clarke drowned during a training dive in June 2018

She also spoke about how let down she felt about Lance Palmer, the diving instructor on the day of the accident.

Palmer was found responsible for multiple failings, including not adequately maintaining and checking his students breathing apparatus; failing to remain in close enough proximity to monitor his student which meant he did not notice the audible and visual alarms sounding on breathing apparatus.

He was also found responsible for contravening TDI rules for exceeding maximum diving depths on repeat dives, and failing to have an adequately qualified rescue diver in the water with him and the student.

Palmer, trading as LP Diving and Marine Services of Pillaton Hall Farm, Penkridge, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was ordered to undertake 50 hours unpaid work and costs of £3,085 at Leicester Magistrates Court on January 25.

Ms Clarke said she had never received an apology from Palmer and spoke about she felt that no manner of apology could ever bring her husband back.

She said: "My family and I feel totally let down by the diving school, who we paid for the course and for him to service the equipment correctly, which wasn't done right and which came up in the inquest.

"I feel completely let down by the fact that he has never shown me any remorse and has never apologised to me, and I also feel let down by the courts for the sentence they gave him.

"I know as well that nothing will bring Roger back and I hope this never happens to another family as I lost everything, my son lost his dad and my grandson will never get the chance to meet his grandad."

LP Diving and Marine Services have been approached for a comment.

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