A MAN "of immense strength and will" was hit by a tram whilst in Prague on holiday, an inquest has heard.

James Maurice Elton, of Crookham Village, was in the Czech Republic celebrating his 45th birthday with his girlfriend when he was killed walking back to his hotel.

The bricklayer, who has "worked hard all of his life" had recently set up his own company, according to his father Maurice, when the accident occurred on November 3, 2019.

James and his girlfriend, Amber Minterne, were walking from the New Town to their hotel, the Green Garden, after a day of sightseeing.

The couple had spent their two days in the Czech capital "eating and drinking and taking beautiful photos" and doing "all of the touristy things".

That evening, they had been drinking in a number of bars, before leaving to walk back to the hotel in the early evening.

The pair stopped at a McDonald's, before walking back towards their hotel between 8pm and 9pm, Amber told Hampshire's Senior Coroner Christopher Wilkinson in the inquest, held remotely via Zoom.

On their walk, the couple were playful and would hide and jump out on each other, Amber said, "being like young teenagers and having fun". They were walking along a road named Jecná when James disappeared from Amber's sight.

"I turned a corner and he wasn't there," she continued. "I had an assumption that he had crossed the road or was hiding from me, so I carried on."

After not finding him before she arrived at the hotel, Amber asked the reception desk whether he had returned, before retracing her steps to look for him.

It was when she saw the lights of the emergency services that Amber realised what had happened.

"There were lots of police cars around and an ambulance had turned up, but it was definitely a tram. It looked like he had walked out in between parked cars."

Mr Wilkinson said that whilst he could not be sure that James had not been distracted by his phone at the time of the incident, he was sure that he had no intention of taking his own life, and that alcohol had played a part, returning a conclusion of accidental death.

"He simply failed to recognise the speed or distance of the approaching tram when stepping out from the cover of two parked vehicles.

"It was a tragic misjudgement of James's attempt to cross the road," he summarised.

The court had heard that both James and Amber had known that the city was very busy that weekend, and that James in particular had been "very protective" of her when crossing the road, always being aware of their surroundings and making sure it was safe to cross.

Anthony Flaton had also told the inquest how his brother was an inspiration to him.

"My brother was a man of immense strength and will," he said.

"He came over some adversity in his life. He always had the ability to push forward in the face of anything that stood in his way and that is one characteristic that I can take into my life in some small way and that is something that he will have always given me."

Meanwhile, Amber said: "He was a very beautiful man inside and out.

"He made a massive difference to my life for the seven years I knew him.

"He lit up the room whenever he walked into one. He always brought a smile to everyone’s face.

"He was a beautiful friend and boyfriend. He will be significantly missed by everybody."

His father's wife, Julie, said that he "worked hard and played hard", whilst his dad called him a "hard worker" who "achieved what he wanted".

"He was fun loving and enjoyed life," Maurice continued.