A WOMAN described how a visit to a popular beauty spot turned to tragedy when she saw a car launch into the air and plunge down a steep mountainside.
The driver of the vehicle, 73-year-old Terence Ivan Roberts, was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown out.
He died despite efforts to save him.
The dramatic incident was described at an inquest in Ruthin yesterday at which North Wales East and Central coroner John Gittins recorded a conclusion of suicide on the retired electrical engineer.
Olwen Jones, of Caerwys, said she and her partner Gary had driven to Bwlch Penbarras, the pass between Ruthin and Mold, on the evening of July 25 as it was such a pleasant evening and they intended to go for a walk.
But as she stood in the car park overlooking the Vale of Clwyd she heard loud revving and saw a car going “at speed” down the single-track road towards Ruthin.
“It went over the side and appeared to launch into the air,” she said.
Colin Jones, of Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port, who was also about to set out on a walk, told the inquest that Mr Roberts had driven up from Ruthin, turned round in the car-park and then went back down the hill.
“He floored the accelerator,” he said.
Mr Jones and Miss Jones’ partner scrambled down the steep incline and went to Mr Roberts’ assistance but he had suffered multiple injuries and was declared dead at the scene.
Collision investigator PC James Nobbs said no mechanical defect was found on the vehicle, which had nosedived onto a ledge of crushed slate before ending up more than 100 metres from the road.
Mr Roberts’ wife, Sheila Roberts, of Corwen Close, Connah’s Quay, told the inquest her husband was a very private person, often keeping things from his own family.
Over the previous 12 months, she said, he seemed to have been putting his affairs in order, such as ensuring her name was on their house deeds, and he also had financial problems.
“He was doing things which were out of character,” she said.
She said he had been concerned about a lump on his neck, but the coroner said that doctors’ reports showed there was nothing to worry about.
The inquest also heard Mr Roberts was also concerned about the prospect of having dementia from which his father had suffered.
However, he had never hinted that he might self-harm or take his own life.
Recording his conclusion, Mr Gittins said it was “a very, very difficult case” but that while the changes which had taken place might seem insignificant to many people they were a complete personality change for Mr Roberts.
He asked Mrs Roberts if she believed that her husband had killed himself and she replied: “Yes, I do”.