Mystery remains around death in Kazakhstan

(6835577)Addingham's Sid Rayner out climbing, one of the outdoor activities he enjoyed. Picture by Mark Hockey Photography

(6835887)Addingham's Sid Rayner as he set off on his charity motorcycle ride to Mongolia.

First published in News

A FAMILY may never learn the exact circumstances of an accident which claimed the life of an Addingham man on a charity motorbike trek in Kazakhstan.

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 on Friday (May 30).

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 a street children's charity CYPPD Mongolia when he was killed.

But many questions surrounding his death remaining unanswered, the inquest heard

And the inquest heard of his family's anguish, as they were told his body would be "thrown in the pit" if they did not arrange for him to be collected within three days.

Conflicting reports from Kazakhstan gave different locations for the accident, and claims he had collided with a cow on the remote Samara-Shymkent road could not be verified.

After the accident the family struggled to find out the location of Mr Rayner's body, which was later brought back to the UK.

A friend of a family friend in Kazakstan worked to locate where officials were keeping Mr Rayner’s body.

Mr Rayner's mother Jeannette said: “We didn’t even know where he was. He (the friend) was told he’d be thrown in the pit in three days, which was quite horrific."

Mrs Rayner, who has battled cancer since her son’s death, said she received further calls again saying officials in Kazakhstan would dispose of her son’s body.

“I kept trying to explain we couldn’t get to Kazakhstan from England in that time.”

A post mortem carried out in the UK could not verify the findings of an examination in Kazakhstan, which concluded he suffered a head injury.

His belongings, including cameras and other equipment, were safely returned to his family, dispelling suspicions he might have been attacked by robbers.

Assistant coroner, Tim Ratcliffe, said he did not believe he had ever dealt with an inquest in which such little vital information was known.

Mr Rayner's mother, Jeannette, told the hearing her "adventurous" son lived his short life to the full, counting ice climbing, caving, skiing and caving among his hobbies.

He had been a member of Ilkley Sea Scouts and Ilkley Air Training Corps when he was younger.

A steeplejack and abseiler by trade, his last job before he set off the charity 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."

Mr Rayner stayed at a hotel in Kazakhstan on July 4 to 5. In his last video to his family, he told them of the heat at night in desert, and said he had come off his bike more than once when the saddle was wet.

He was confirmed dead by a medical facility in Kazakstan on July 7.

But his family doubted reports he had struck a cow.

Mrs Rayner, who paid tribute to her son as an 'adventurous soul' who would help anybody, revealed she had received distressing calls from Kazakhstan asking her to make a payment within three days or they would bury him 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, as well as an abseil event at the Cow and Calf Rocks in Ilkley, were later contributed to CYPPD Mongolia.

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