Accidental death verdict for runner killed by falling branch

A police officer was killed by a falling oak tree branch as he trained to run the London Marathon.

Nick Wharton from East Sussex was running in a wood on the Hooke Estate near his home when the branch fell from an oak tree.

A post-mortem examination found he died from multiple injuries, including serious chest trauma, after being hit on the back by the falling branch.

Wharton was a probationary PC based at Belgravia police station and training for the London Marathon when he was hit by the branch on 11 September 2009.

At an inquest into his death Superintendent Simon Ovens paid tribute to the 30-year-old: "Nicholas was an outstanding young officer. He had already made a big difference to the lives of people Westminster and he had a really bright future in the Met. The force will be a poorer place without him."

Tree surgeon Simon Birkby told the inquest the 200-year-old oak was diseased but it was "incredibly uncommon" for lethal branches to fall to the ground without warning.

He said: "Everything has a life span. But it is unfeasible to check the safety of every tree by every public footpath."

East Sussex deputy coroner Kate Palmer said there was no evidence of gross negligence by landowner James Tillard and recorded a verdict of accidental death.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.

Get set for Saltex 2017

Get set for Saltex 2017

This year's Saltex show at the NEC in Birmingham offers something for everyone, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources