The carer of Phil Spencer's late parents crawled out of the submerged car window in an effort to save them.

Anne Spencer, 82, and husband Richard, 89, died in August when their car careered into a river while they were on their way to a pub for lunch. The car came off the access road into a shallow tributary river running through their estate in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, Kent.

The couple, who were married for almost 60 years, were pulled from the car and taken to hospital. Richard was in the front passenger seat of the car, and the couple’s carer was in the back of the vehicle. The inquest into Anne's death heard that as the car approached the bridge, it slipped off the edge and overturned. All three occupants were submerged in three feet of water.

‌Area Coroner for North East Kent, Sarah Clarke said their full-time live-in carer managed to escape through the passenger window and called for help. Richard and Anne were submerged underwater for around 20 minutes before paramedics took the couple to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate, Kent. Sadly Anne was pronounced dead at 9.55pm.

Phil Spencer & Luna selfie
Phil paid tribute to his 'amazing parents' over the summer
Phil Spencer
Anne and Richard died after their car careered into a river

An inquest into Anne’s death was opened at County Hall in Maidstone, Kent, on Monday morning. The court heard Anne was driving her Toyota down a private lane from the family home towards a bridge on their land, which passed over the Nail Bourne River, around 12.20pm on August 18. Anne died of a lung infection and brain injury.

‌Mrs Clarke told the inquest: “As the vehicle negotiated the bridge, which had a steep slant down and a sharp edge, it tipped over the edge and struck the bottom of the river and overturned - submerging all three occupants in three feet of water.

“The carer escaped through the passenger window and called for help." Anne's cause of death was given as 1a) aspiration pneumonia and hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and 1b) submersion in water (near drowning). Mrs Clarke set a date for a full inquest into Anne and Richard’s deaths for 3.30pm on December 19.

Last month an inquest heard that Phil’s dad died of a lung injury after nearly drowning in the car accident. Location, Location, Location presenter Phil paid tribute to his “amazing parents” in a post on Instagram on August 20. He also shared that Anne had been suffering from Parkinson's and David had been diagnosed with Dementia.

He wrote: "As a family we are all trying to hold onto the fact Mum and Dad went together and that neither will ever have to mourn the loss of the other one. Which is a blessing in itself. Although they were both on extremely good form in the days before (hence the sudden idea to go out to lunch) Mums Parkinson's and Dads Dementia had been worsening and the long term future was set to be a challenge.

‌"So much so that Mum said to me only a week ago that she had resigned to thinking ‘now it looks like we will probably go together’. And so they did. That was what God had planned for them - and it was a good plan. The car, going very slowly, toppled over a bridge on the farm drive, upside down into the river. There were no physical injuries and I very much doubt they would have even fought it - they would have held hands under the water and quietly slipped away.

‌"Their carer was in the car and managed to climb out of a back window so the alarm was raised quite quickly. As many farmers do - my brother had a penknife and so was able to cut the seat belts - he pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness. Although desperately sad and shocked beyond all belief - all family are clear that if there can ever be such a thing as having a "good end" - this was it."

Phil added: "It feels horrendous right now, but after almost 60 years of marriage - to die together on the farm they so loved will, I know, be a comfort in the future. Mum and Dad are together which is precisely where they would have wanted to be."

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