Falling branch at Kew Gardens killed Erena Wilson instantly, hears inquest


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The Independent Online

An account manager died instantly when she was hit by a falling tree branch in Kew Gardens as she was walking with friends at the weekend, an inquest heard today.

Erena Louise Wilson, 31, who was born in Wellington, New Zealand but lived in London, received "non-survival head injuries" when she was hit by the Lebanese cedar branch at the Royal Botanical Gardens in south west London on Sunday.

The incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Metropolitan Police inspector Simon Young told an inquest opening at West London Coroner's Court that he attended the scene where statements were taken from Ms Wilson's friends who witnessed the incident.

He said: "They stated they were walking along a path and heard a loud crack believing it was thunder or something similar to that.

"They looked up and saw the tree branch descending.

"They then ran and then looked back around and the lady was on the floor in an uncomfortable position, to say the least. There were lots of branches all around her."

Mr Young said the ambulance service was already in attendance when he arrived, but paramedics were unable to save her as she had died instantly. She was pronounced dead at 2.21pm.

He said Ms Wilson, who was single and lived in Hanwell, west London, was identified by her friends Sean and Tessa Britton.

A post-mortem examination conducted earlier today found the cause of death to be multiple injuries, he added.

He said police have been in contact with Ms Wilson's mother, who lives in Auckland, and her father in Australia.

A maternal uncle who lives in the UK is helping to organise the repatriation of her body to New Zealand.

No mention was made of whether the strong winds in the area at the time played a part in the incident.

West London Coroner Alison Thompson adjourned the inquest to a later unfixed date.