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Te Papa Boss Often Ignored Tramping Advice, Inquest Told

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 18 NZPA - Former Te Papa boss Seddon Bennington never carried a compass but instinctively knew how to find a hut in the bush, his estranged wife yesterday told an inquest into his death.

Dr Bennington, 61, and companion Marcella Jackson, 54, died of hypothermia on July 11 last year after getting caught in a blizzard while tramping in the Tararuas. Their bodies were found four days later, close to Kime Hut.

On the final day of the inquest yesterday, Frances Bennington told the hearing she had gone tramping many times with Dr Bennington in Arthur's Pass but they often ignored advice, the Dominion Post reported.

"When we were tramping, people would often say, `Don't go up there,' but then we would go up."

Dr Bennington was a very able tramper and would never give up, she said.

"He would always keep going until he got to the hut."

Stephanie Timms, Dr Bennington's partner of seven months at the time of his death, also gave evidence, telling coroner Tim Scott Dr Bennington did not have a home phone or internet connection and did not regularly monitor weather forecasts. He used his BlackBerry to stay connected.

Wellington trampers Simon Tuohy and Jessie Wilson said they met Dr Bennington and Ms Jackson about half-way along the track, at Field Hut, on the day they went missing.

When told of a deteriorating weather forecast Dr Bennington seemed interested but not concerned, they said.

The coroner reserved his decision until next week.

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