Published: December 7, 2012
Inquest concludes Burnham-On-Sea fencing coach died of drowning

A world-renowned fencing coach from Burnham-On-Sea died of drowning when his car ended on its roof in a rhyne after colliding with another vehicle, a coroner ruled on Thursday (December 6th).

Professor James Perry, 65, who had tutored many of Britain’s top fencers, was killed in a crash near Burnham in July when his Ford Mondeo was involved in a collision with a VW Golf.

His inquest was held in Taunton on Thursday and West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said the cause of death had been accidental drowning.

"Mr Perry drowned in his car. No physical injuries were visible on his body. His car overturned and came to rest roof-down in a rhyne and he was unable to escape," the coroner told

The sports tutor, who lived in Burnham, was a qualified full Master of the British Academy of Fencing and a professor in the art of fencing. He wrote a coaching manual, Coaching Today, and also set up his own fencing club, called Excalibur International, which was based in Winscombe.

He also sat on the committee of the British Academy of Fencing for six years and gained a top fencing accolade of Academie D’armes International.

The accident came after the fencing expert's top student, James Davis, whom he had taught since the age of 12, was selected to represent Team GB at the London Olympics.

James said: "He will always be remembered as the greatest coach I ever worked with; someone who devoted so much of his time to one pupil so that one day he could see them shine."

Earlier this year, Mr Perry's wife said her husband had been on his way to teach at one of his favourite schools, Sturminster Newton, in Dorset, at the time of the accident. She said her husband, who was known as Jim, had told her how proud he was that James Davis had made it into the British team.


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