The mother of a motorcyclist killed on a long-distance charity ride in Kazakhstan was told his body would be ‘thrown in the pit’ if she did not go there and pay to transport him home.
David John Rayner, 36 – known to most as Sid – died as the result of a road accident in July 2012, a coroner concluded in Bradford yesterday.
His family only learned of the tragedy when his girlfriend, Samantha, received a call from his mobile phone from Kazakhstan, informing her he was in a morgue.
Mr Rayner, of Low Mill Fold, Addingham, was riding to Mongolia to raise money for street children’s charity CYPPD Mongolia when he was killed. The exact circumstances of the accident might never be known, Bradford Coroner’s Court heard, but he is believed to have been found in a ditch by the roadside.
Conflicting reports from Kazakhstan gave different locations for the accident and claims he had collided with a cow could not be verified.
A UK post-mortem could not verify the findings of a test in Kazakhstan, which concluded he suffered a head injury. His belongings, including cameras, were returned to his family, dispelling suspicions he might have been attacked by robbers.
Assistant Bradford coroner Tim Ratcliffe said he did not believe he had ever dealt with an inquest in which so little vital information was known.
Mr Rayner’s mother, Jeannette, told the hearing her “adventurous” son lived his short life to the full, with ice climbing, caving, skiing and caving among his hobbies. He had been a member of Ilkley Sea Scouts and Ilkley Air Training Corps in his youth.
A steeplejack and abseiler, his last job before he went on the expedition was tensioning the rope of a bell outside the London 2012 Olympic stadium.
When warned about the hazards of riding on poor roads in remote and desert regions, he had said: “The best adventures are often the craziest ones.”
He was confirmed dead by a medical facility in Kazakhstan on July 7.
Mrs Rayner, who paid tribute to her son as an “adventurous soul” who would help anybody, said she had received distressing calls from Kazakhstan authorities asking her to make a payment within three days or that her son would be buried in a pit.
She enlisted help from a Russian-speaking friend and instructed a lawyer in Kazakhstan.
“It’s been two years now,” she said. “It’s been so hard.”
Donations totalling £1,300, from Mr Rayner’s fundraising appeal and an abseil event at the Cow and Calf Rocks in Ilkley, were later contributed to CYPPD Mongolia.