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Bond alumni Chris Corbould cleared of 'Batman' stunt death

14-Mar-2011 • Bond News

James Bond special effects regular and Oscar winner Chris Corbould has has been cleared of health and safety breaches after the death of a London cameraman during the making of the last Batman film - reports the Press Association.

Conway Wickliffe, 41, from Uxbridge, west London, was killed when the vehicle from which he was filming struck a tree during a test run for an action scene in The Dark Knight, starring the late Heath Ledger. The father-of-two suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene at an industrial site at Longcross near Chertsey, Surrey, on September 24, 2007.

Jurors took less than two hours to find special effects supervisor Christopher Corbould, 53, of Woodlands Road, Bookham, unanimously not guilty of failing to ensure his safety.

During the trial at Guildford Crown Court jurors heard how Oscar-winning Corbould, who has almost 40 years' experience in special effects, was in charge of the crew as they filmed the second part of an action scene after filming the first part in Chicago.

Mr Wickliffe was designated as the cameraman to film the stunt from the back of a Nissan Navara 4X4. The court heard that the 4X4, which was travelling at around 20mph, failed to make the necessary left turn and collided with a tree.

Mr Wickliffe, who did not have his seatbelt on, had his head hanging out of the open window at the time and it was crushed between the tree and the car. He was killed instantly.

Corbould told jurors that the crew were all fully briefed about what they were doing beforehand and he had done everything within his power to minimise any risk from the shoot.

Mr Wickliffe, originally from New Zealand and of Maori descent, had worked on a number of action films throughout his career, including Batman Begins and James Bond film Casino Royale.

At his inquest, which recorded a verdict of accidental death in November 2008, his partner Dee Chase said he loved his job and loved life, taking part in extreme sports such as snowboarding and parachuting.

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