Falling Lebanese cedar branch killed woman at Kew, court hears

A Lebanese cedar branch killed a New Zealander at Kew Gardens on 23 September, West London Coroners' Court has heard.

The 31-year-old from Wellington named Erena Louise Wilson died instantly after the Cedrus libani branch fell in 30mph winds on 23 September, the court heard.

Inspector Simon Young of Richmond Police told West London Coroners Court that several friends told him that they had been walking in the gardens when they heard a loud crack, which resembled a thunder crack. "They looked up at the branch and ran," he reported. When they looked round Ms Wilson was on the ground with branches from a giant Lebanese Cedar around her.

Paramedics were unable to save her and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 14.51. She died instantly from traumatic head injury, coroner Alison Thompson heard.

Dr Robert Chapman held a post mortem and found the cause of death was multiple injuries including a non-survivable head injury.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) now have it in their remit to take charge of the investigation, said Inspector Young, because there is no suggestion of a crime.

The police will now act as family liaison for a maternal uncle of Ms Wilson, who lives in the UK. No family were in court. Ms Wilson’s mother lives in Auckland and her father lives in Australia.

Ms Wilson who was born in Wellington lived in Hanwell in London W7.

A date is yet to be fixed for an inquest pending an HSE report.


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