Amateur jockey, 19, is found hanged dead in car wash as he began promising horseracing career, inquest hears
- Michael Pitt, 19, found dead in petrol station car wash in Hungerford, Berkshire
- Son of race horse trainer Tim Pitt, Michael had recently gained amateur licence
- An employee turning up to work discovered the amateur jockey’s body at 7am
- Inquest today confirmed the promising rider’s cause of death was hanging
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A teenage amateur jockey was found dead in a car wash after gaining enough experience to earn an amateur licence, an inquest has heard.
Promising rider Michael Pitt, 19, was taking the tentative first steps in his horseracing career when he was found hanged in the historic market town of Hungerford, Berkshire.
An inquest today heard that a garage employee arriving for work at the petrol station in Charnham Street found Michael’s body in the car wash.
A pathologist who carried out the post-mortem ruled that the cause of death was hanging.
Son of top racehorse trainer Tim Pitt, Michael had recently gained enough amateur experience to ride over jumps and worked as a stable boy for the prestigious Warren Greatrex yard in Lambourn, Berks.
The teenager had completed his last race on a horse named Moonlighting in November, finishing seventh at Southwell, having ridden 26 times on the flat since taking out his licence in 2019.
Promising rider Michael Pitt, 19, was taking the tentative first steps in his horseracing career when he was found hanged in the historic market town of Hungerford, Berkshire
Tragically, the body of the promising young rider was found just after 7am at the Co-op petrol station in Hungerford on July, 5.
Daniel Way, an employee, turned up to work and discovered the body of a young man in the jet wash area, the inquest heard.
Assistant Berkshire coroner Ian Wade QC said: ‘He appeared to be completely unresponsive. It was the impression of Daniel Way that the body had been there for quite a few hours.’
Pathologist Dr Fawaz Musa conducted a post mortem examination and confirmed the cause of death was hanging.
Tributes have since poured in for the promising young jockey.
Tributes have since poured in for the promising young jockey (pictured) who recently gained his amateur licence
Taking to social media, Denis Coakley racing said: ‘We are all absolutely devastated by the news of the sudden and tragic death of Michael Pitt.
‘Not only was Michael a lifelong close family friend but he also became our first ever apprentice jockey.
‘He had started riding out for us at Keeper’s Stables during his school holidays and then he came to work full time in June of 2018.
‘It was an absolute pleasure to watch Michael grow as a person and a rider during his time with us.
‘Michael was always a very happy lad and loved a joke, he worked very hard indeed and was always looking to improve himself.
‘He was extremely popular in the yard, with all of the owners and in the village of West Ilsley too. Michael was a lad with a very bright future ahead of him.’
Michael had worked for Warren Greatrex as a stable lad before his death and Mr Greatrex told local media: ‘It’s an awful accident. He was a cracking lad and a really good young rider.
An inquest today heard that a garage employee arriving for work at the petrol station in Charnham Street found Michael’s body in the car wash
‘He was loved by everybody and this has hit us all hard. He was a stable lad for us who had just got his amateur licence, he rode very well and worked hard as well.
‘He had been with us for about a year. He fitted in great and was a real cheeky chap. He always had a smile on his face and was very popular among staff.’
The Chief Executive Officer of the Injured Jockeys Fund, Lisa Hancock, said: ‘It is with desperate sadness that we can confirm that former apprentice jockey Michael Pitt, aged 19 years, sadly passed away following a tragic accident on Sunday.
‘His family are enormously appreciative of the many messages they are receiving, as are Warren and Tessa Greatrex, whose yard Michael was working at in Lambourn.
‘The family would respectfully ask that no cards or flowers be sent but instead any donations go to the Injured Jockeys Fund or Racing Welfare.’
Assistant coroner Mr Wade concluded: ‘This is an unnatural death of a 19-year-old young man.
‘It requires toxicology reports, GP records and a report from the ambulance service who attended as well as a report from Thames Valley Police and a statement from the eye-witness Mr Way.’
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