Mother was killed in crash while taking picture of I'm a Celeb castle

Mother-of-two, 58, was killed by car that hit her after she stopped to take a picture of the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ castle in Wales

  • Sharn Iona Hughes, 58, was killed in a collision on A547 on November 21, 2020
  • She had got out of her car to take a picture of the I’m A Celebrity castle in Wales
  • Mrs Hughes was hit by a blue Volvo estate car and died at the scene in Abergele
  • I’m A Celebrity was filmed at Gwrych Castle last year amid Covid-19 restrictions

A mother-of-two was killed in a collision on a dark stretch of road after she got out of her car to take a picture of the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here castle in Wales. 

Sharn Iona Hughes, 58, travelled ten miles from her home to Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales, to see the lights on the set of the ITV show on November 21 last year.

Mrs Hughes and her husband Elfyn, from Prestatyn, pulled into a layby on the A547 at 5pm to take a picture of the castle when a blue Volvo estate crashed into her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

At the time, there was a 60mph limit on the A547 outside Gwrych Castle, where I’m a Celebrity was filmed from September 2020, but it has since been lowered to a 20mph temporary restriction.

An inquest at Ruthin, North Wales heard a conclusion of death due to a road traffic collision was recorded. Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said she would have died instantaneously from multiple traumatic injuries.

Sharn Iona Hughes (pictured), 58, travelled ten miles to Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales, to see the lights on the set of I’m A Celebrity at 5pm on November 21 last year

PC Richard Witham said a Volvo travelling towards Llanddulas emerged from a left-hand bend when the collision occurred, causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries to Mrs Hughes.

Widower Elfyn Hughes, a retired head of maths, left the courtroom when his and the pathologist’s statement were outlined by the coroner.

His late wife, a caravan sales controller and church treasurer, was ‘extremely road safety conscious,’ he said. 

He said she had wanted to see the castle lights at night and they drove down the unlit A547 single carriageway before leaving their car in a lay-by outside the castle walls.

Mr Hughes said he heard a ‘big metallic bang’ and thought it was ‘bricks falling off the back of a lorry’, until he saw the rear lights of a car, when he assumed there had been a crash between cars.

Unaware his wife had been killed at that stage, he flagged down approaching traffic.

Mrs Hughes and her husband Elfyn, from Prestatyn, pulled into a layby on the A547 at 5pm to take a picture of Gwrych Castle (pictured) when a blue Volvo estate crashed into her

An inquest at Ruthin, North Wales heard a conclusion of death due to a road traffic collision was recorded. Pictured: Scene of the fatal crash on the A547

He said: ‘Her curiosity led to her wanting to see the lights at Gwrych which unfortunately led to her untimely death. 

‘As a family we are truly heartbroken. She was hoping to take a photo and send it to a friend.

‘She was so selfless. We will miss her kindness and thoughtful nature forever.’

Shaun Davies, the driver of the Volvo, said he had been driving up to 60mph when a woman in dark clothes stepped out of an archway but it was ‘too late’ to avoid her. 

Police took no further action against him.

Forensic collision investigator Simon Richards said the A547 was very dark and had a lay-by across the road. 

Another car had been performing a u-turn and Mr Richards said: ‘I don’t believe (Mr Davies) would have been able to see the pedestrian and react to her presence.’ 

Signs and traffic cones have been put in place along the road, including at the scene of the tragedy, to discourage parking and warning of ‘pedestrians’. 

Temporary speed limits of 30mph and 20mph have also been introduced outside the castle, where I’m a Celebrity was filmed last year after it was moved from its normal location of Dungay in Australia due to travel restrictions amid the Covid pandemic.

The easing of Covid restrictions is expected to cause a huge influx of Ant and Dec fans to the Abergele area.

Mrs Hughes was well-known and popular in the Prestatyn area. She was treasurer of St Melyd Church and was a member of Gwaenysgor Choir, and Trelawnyd and Dyserth WIs.

Senior coroner John Gittins told her family: ‘You should quite rightly be proud of this woman.’

He urged I’m a Celebrity fans to ‘ensure they observe fully all the safety measures put in place’ at Gwrych Castle.

The picturesque Grade I-listed Gwrych Castle was built in 1810 on the grounds of a medieval house and is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds. 

Just seven days after Mrs Hughes died, the body of a male cyclist was found in woodland near the Welsh castle.


PC Richard Witham said a Volvo travelling towards Llanddulas emerged from a left-hand bend when the collision occurred, causing ‘catastrophic’ injuries to Mrs Hughes (left and right)

The discovery was made on November 28 in woods in Abergele, less than a mile away from Gwrych Castle.

North Wales Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the man who was found near Lady Emily’s Tower shortly before 11am.

Detectives, who were informed about the discovery by paramedics, carried out door-to-door enquiries after the man’s car was found parked in the area.

During I’m A Celebrity filming, more than 40 security guards protected campmates at Gwrych Castle with local roads, a campsite and a farm park near the site all closed.

Wardens in high-vis jackets were seen at the entrances sealed with wire fences as guards with a night-vision goggles patrolled inside the forest around the camp. 

The coroner had been in contact with Conwy council chief executive Iwan Davies to inquire about safety measures.

Through a police liaison officer, Mrs Hughes’s family said they were grateful to the council and North Wales police for steps taken to try and avoid another tragedy.

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