A CORONER has ruled the death of a 27-year-old scientist who died while on a cycling holiday in Italy as ‘accidental’.

Susannah Boddie, of Park Corner, Nettlebed near Henley, died from a ‘severe head injury’ after crashing into a concrete wall on her bike as she descended a steep mountain trail near Lake Garda on August 11 last year.

The lead health data scientist for 10 Downing Street’s science team, who had helped steer the UK through the Covid pandemic, was on holiday with her boyfriend, Robert Johnson, at the time of the accident.

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An inquest held at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Monday (March 25) heard Miss Boddie was an avid cyclist and had been training for an Iron Man.

Oxford Mail:

Senior coroner Darren Salter ruled the death as ‘accidental’.

During the inquest, it was heard that Miss Boddie and Mr Johnson had been cycling from Lake Garda and Verona when they came across a steep decline in the mountains above Toscolano Maderno.

In a written statement to the coroner, Mr Johnson said: “We were on the last day cycling.

"Everything was normal and we were cycling for about 30 minutes and it was mostly downhill.

“We were following a GPS route that took us down a smaller, steeper road but nothing I wasn’t comfortable doing and nothing Susannah hadn’t done before.

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“I was slightly ahead and suddenly she came flying past me and seemed out of control. She went round a bend ahead of me, out of sight.”

He said when he caught up with Miss Boddie, he could see she had crashed into a wall and ‘appeared to be breathing’ but was bleeding from her mouth.

A passing couple stopped to help and emergency services arrived 30 minutes later due to the rural location, the inquest was told.

After 45 minutes of treatment, they pronounced Miss Boddie dead.

Oxford Mail:

Miss Boddie’s family had her bike, which she brought to Italy herself, examined and it was considered a possibility that the inner tube of the front wheel had exploded, rendering the brakes useless.

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It was heard that the bike had been fine the day before then the couple had been taking downhill routes.

Coroner Mr Salter said that ‘it’s difficult to know what the circumstances were’ that has caused her to lose control.

“I’m not entirely sure if we will get to the bottom of what went wrong,” he said.

After concluding an accidental death, Mr Salter said: “She was an inspiring woman, an incredible scientist and was loved and admired by all.

"She had achieved so much in her short life.”