St Jude's Day storm: Four confirmed dead as Britain is bombarded with high winds and heavy rain

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

At it's peak a total of 600,000 homes were left without power as a result of the storm

Four people have been killed after a major storm battered Britain with high winds and heavy rain, leaving 600,000 homes without power and causing transport chaos.

Click here or on 'view gallery' to see more images

A 17-year-old girl named as Bethany Freeman and an unnamed man in his 50s in Watford were killed by falling trees in Kent and Watford respectively, while police this afternoon confirmed that the bodies of an elderly man and woman had been found in a west London house following a gas explosion also caused by a falling tree.

The blast occurred in Hounslow earlier this morning after a falling tree destroyed three houses and landed on a gas main. Witnesses say debris was scattered over 50 metres around the blast site, with local fire station manager Matt Burrows describing the usually leafy, suburban street as a "scene of devastation". The bodies of an unnamed elderly couple were found among the rubble following an extensive search earlier this afternoon.

Meanwhile in Edenbridge, 17-year-old Bethany Freeman suffered fatal injuries when a tree fell onto the static home in which she was sleeping.

Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishly from Kent Police said: “She was in a static home adjoining the house she lives in with her family. Tragically, she did die at the scene. It's not being treated as suspicious but we're working with Fire and Rescue to determine the exact cause.”

Seventeen-year-old Bethany Freeman who was killed by a falling tree Seventeen-year-old Bethany Freeman who was killed by a falling tree The unnamed 50-year-old man died after a tree crushed his red Peugeot 307 on Watford's Lower High Street.

The BBC quoted passer-by Mark Joseph as saying: "We tried to assist, trying to get the tree off, but it was impossible... The poor chap didn't stand a chance.”

Confirmation of the four deaths came amid news that the search has been called off for 14-year-old Dylan Alkins, who was swept out to sea in Newhaven yesterday afternoon in what the coastguard described as "atrocious" conditions.

David Cameron described the multiple loss of life as a result of the storm as "hugely regrettable".

The deaths came as commuters across the southern part of Britain faced disruption on road, rail and air transport services after the storm battered the UK, bringing with it near-100mph winds.

The weather system, dubbed the St Jude's day storm after the patron saint of lost causes and 'cases despaired of', whose feast day is today, has brought down trees across the region and according to overnight reports has damaged property and left many roads impassable through floodwater.

The storm hit the South West late last night before tracking north eastwards across England and southern Wales throughout the morning.

At its peak, a total of 600,000 homes were left without power as a result of the storm. According to the BBC, a spokesman for the Energy Networks Association, which represents power companies across the UK, said 310,000 of those households had now been reconnected, but admitted more homes have since been cut off as the storm moved north and eastwards.

Around 130 flights were cancelled at Heathrow, and Network Rail has said there is disruption on all train services in and out of London as a result of the "worse than expected" conditions.

A boat is dragged from its mooring on the beach and destroyed by large waves near Brighton Marina, in southern England A boat is dragged from its mooring on the beach and destroyed by large waves near Brighton Marina, in southern England

 

Developments at a glance

* 17-year-old Bethany Freeman killed  after a tree fell onto static home where she was sleeping in Kent

* Man in his 50s killed after a tree crushed his car in Watford

* Whitehall was closed both ways between Parliament Square and Horse Guards Avenue due to a collapsed crane.

* Storm force 11 winds were reported at Dover.

* A gust of 99mph (159km/h) was recorded on the Isle of Wight.

* Boy feared dead after being swept out to sea in New Haven, East Sussex.

* An empty passenger train has hit a tree near Ivybridge station in Devon.

* Severn crossings between South Wales and England have reopened.

* Network rail reporting more than 100 railway line blockages.

* Sussex Police tweeted that there were 125 trees down across roads in the county by 6.30am. 

* UK Power Networks says up to 270,000 households are without power across England.

* Heathrow Airport said around 130 flights had been cancelled.

* Transport for London (TfL) said there was disruption to six Underground lines due to debris from the storm on the tracks.

* Both reactors in Dungeness power station's B units have been automatically shut down

* Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in south-west London was closed today because of damage caused by the weather.

* Two people remain unaccounted for following a gas explosion caused by a falling tree

Many rail services that had hoped to be running reduced services before lunch are still badly affected - with some advising against travel for the rest of the day.

Parts of the country remain on flood alert with the Environment Agency issuing 12 flood warnings for the South West, as well as 131 flood alerts for the rest of England and Wales.

The public had been warned to expect the possibility of power cuts, trees blocking roads and transport disruption.

 

Waves crash near Brighton Pier in East Sussex, as England and Wales face a battering tonight from the worst storm in five years Waves crash near Brighton Pier in East Sussex, as England and Wales face a battering tonight from the worst storm in five years

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teacher require...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style