HE family of a British tourist who fell to his death from a 30ft ledge on an Indian temple initially thought he had just broken his leg, according to reports.
The man, named locally as Roger Stotesbury, 58, is thought to have been on a year-long round the world “gap year” with his wife Hilary when the tragedy unfolded.
Roger Stotesbury, 58, from Buckingham, was on a round the world gap year with his wife Hilary
He died taking the photo at a temple in India
Cops said he was standing on the edge of a terrace at Lakshmi Temple, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, to get a selfie – though a family spokesperson today said he slipped taking a photo of the views, rather than himself.
But Gina Rozner, who said she was a cousin of Hilary, told The Mirror the couple initially thought father-of-two Roger had just suffered a broken leg.
She is quoted as saying: “Neither of them thought it was fatal accident when it happened.
“He went from being badly injured with a broken leg, to dying.”
Onlookers said he “suddenly slipped and fell from a height of 30ft” to the ground, at 4pm.
A family spokesman said today: “Roger took lots and lots of photographs, and he had gone to take some views from the temple. He put his equipment down and then he fell.
“They were the most happily married couple I have ever known. They were just so devoted to each other.”
Video footage and photographs captured soon after show him being stretchered away from the steps outside the 17th century temple.
Roger died after falling 30ft while trying to take a selfie, cops said
Cops said he fell 30ft while taking a selfie
Prateek Kumar, senior police officer said: “We understand he was trying to take a picture of himself on the wall which is only around 3feet wide. His wife Hilary was standing just 3-4 feet away from him when the incident happened.
“They were alone. They did not have a guide. Team of doctors will conduct autopsy but initial examination tells that he died of cardio-respiratory arrest and had suffered injuries in spinal cord.”
The couple, understood to be from Buckingham, are thought to have embarked on their round the world trip in November 2016, and were due to return soon.
Speaking today, city police inspector DD Azad said: “British tourist Roger James had come to visit Orchha with his wife Hilary.
“Yesterday afternoon, they went to visit the Lakshmi temple. It was then he fell off the balcony while trying to take a selfie.
“The man got seriously injured in the fall and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. But he died during the course of treatment. We have started the legal proceedings in the case.
He said: “This is a very hard time for his wife. She is in shock so we are not asking her several questions. We are providing all our support to her.”
Locals said he fell from a terrace above the front steps and entrance.
Here the couple are pictured during their travels abroad
It is understood Roger worked as a documentary filmmaker before embarking on the trip with his wife. Locals said he fell from a terrace above the front steps and entrance.
He was taken to Ramraja Hospital for further treatment but passed away soon after.
Local police sources confirmed the deceased man was the same one photographed in an online blog by “Hilary and Roger”.
In the online diary titled “Our Middle Aged Gap Year” the couple, who have two grown up children, write they left home in November 2016 after renting out their house and putting all their belongings in storage.
The couple pictured by the Taj Mahal, where they celebrated Hilary’s birthday
India was the 22nd country they had visited in their trip. On the blog they wrote: “We are Hilary and Roger a married couple from England/Scotland who are in their mid fifties. Hilary’s motto is ‘just do it’ whilst Roger’s is ‘to die young as late as possible’.
“We took the view that on your deathbed you never wish you’d spent more time in the office. We’ve seen our two kids off into the wider world and we have no more caring responsibilities for our parents.
“So we thought now is the time to take a gap year and travel whilst we still have the health and energy. After all you only live once.”
India was the 22nd country they had visited, according to their online diary
It shows them pictured across Europe, America and finally Asia and highlights include cycling in the Atacama desert, trekking in the Amazon and visiting Graceland.
The couple had landed in New Delhi on October 9th. Roger, a documentary filmmaker, posted on Tuesday: “Potentially our toughest travelling will be the gap year finale. Our 22nd country is a travellers’ enigma.
“India is the stuff of dreams, colour, smells, extremes, contradictions and sacred cows.”
On Thursday he wrote about their trip to the Taj Mahal and posted: “It seemed to be the perfect place to celebrate Hilary’s birthday.”
The horrific incident occurred in Lakshmi Temple, in the state of Madhya Pradesh
A man renting out the £600,000 four-bed home owned by Roger Stotesbury and his wife Hilary confirmed they were on a round the world trip.
The pair were due to return to their large detached home in Buckingham on December 16, he said.
The 47-year-old architect said: “All I know is that they have been on a round the world tour since last year.
“I started renting their house in December of last year, and my understanding is that they will be back on December 16.
“I have never spoken to them directly, because everything has been done through estate agents.”
The large home has a driveway, big lawn, double garage and the rental listing said it has “off-road parking for six cars”.
Neighbours said the couple had a daughter who was in her mid 20s, and a younger son who had started university recently.
The couple’s next door neighbour, who described himself as a “close friend”, was too upset to speak about the death.
He said: “I just don’t know what to say. I am speechless. I was Roger’s neighbour, so of course I knew him.
Blog entries written by Roger and Hilary detailed their exploits during what they called their ‘Middle Aged Gap Year’
“He was a close friend, actually. That is really very upsetting and shocking.”
Alan Smithers, 79, who works at the University of Buckingham and lives opposite the tragic couple, told of how the pair had meticulously planned their trip.
He said: “I hope that Hilary is OK and that the boys are aware of what has happened. I was expecting them to come home with lots of stories to tell.
“They are the sort to always send a big Christmas card every year telling of what they have been doing, so I was looking forward to that.
“It’s such a nice family for a tragedy like this to happen to.
“I would see them across the other side of the road, and have small talk with them when we were both mowing our lawns. Hilary was retired, Roger ran a media company.
“They were a very friendly couple, very talkative. They have two children, very successful children who have moved away from home now.”