Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Blackmoor Estate deaths: Tributes paid to farm workers

Ashley Clarke
Image caption Ashley Clarke was described as having "a passion for life"

Tributes have been paid to two farm workers who died on a Conservative peer's country estate in Hampshire.

Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, were found unconscious in the apple store at Lord Selborne's Blackmoor Estate, near Liss, on Monday afternoon.

Other staff and paramedics tried to resuscitate them but their efforts were unsuccessful.

Detectives said post-mortem tests were inconclusive. They are waiting for the results of toxicology tests.

The Health and Safety Executive is also investigating the deaths.

'Utter devastation'

The bodies of Mr Cain, a father of one from Whitehill, and Mr Clarke, from Liss, were found in an apple storage area where nitrogen is used to preserve fruit.

In a statement, Mr Clarke's father Ian said: "He had a passion for life and the utter devastation felt by everybody who knew him is testament to his popularity and the impact he had on many of those who knew and loved him.

"We still have many questions which will need to be answered in the fullness of time, but nothing will bring Ashley back or take away the incredible pain we are all feeling.

"We have lost someone special, a son, a brother, fiancé and friend, who can never be replaced and we will never forget him."

Nigel Welch, president of Wey Valley FC where Mr Cain played, said: "In his football he will be remembered for his fearless defending and tireless commitment to the team and its success."

He added: "Outside of football Scotty was utterly devoted to his fiancée and daughter and could be summed up as a 'true gent'."

Viscount Wolmer, Lord Selborne's son and managing director of the estate, has described the deaths as "devastating news".

John Palmer, the 4th Earl of Selborne, was one of the hereditary peers who remained in the House of Lords following the reforms of 1999.

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