Storm Eunice victim was crushed by tree that fell on car as husband drove her home from work

Tributes paid to victims of one of UK’s worst storms in a generation

Thomas Kingsley
Tuesday 22 February 2022 12:23 GMT
Juliana Da Silva Queiroz Murilo, 37, was in the passenger seat of a car when a tree fell on it during Storm Eunice
Juliana Da Silva Queiroz Murilo, 37, was in the passenger seat of a car when a tree fell on it during Storm Eunice (Facebook)

The husband of a woman killed by a falling tree as he drove her home from work during Storm Eunice has spoken of his heartbreak at her death.

Juliana Da Silva Queiroz Murilo, 37, was one of four people killed as the UK and Ireland were lashed by winds of more than 120mph on Friday.

The family of Stephen Matthews, 68, have also paid tribute to the grandfather after he was killed by debris that struck the car in which he was travelling in Merseyside.

Ms Murilo was in the passenger seat of a Honda being driven by husband Carlos, a cab driver, when the tree collapsed on them in Haringey, north London, just after 4pm.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, 39, was taken to hospital after being cut from the car but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Mr Murilo, who is also a house painter, told the Evening Standard: “I was driving her home like I always do.

A car damaged by a fallen tree after high winds and wet weather in Liverpool (PA)

“Suddenly there was a crash and the tree crushed the roof. It landed mainly on my wife. I was conscious but in a daze. A woman came and held my hand and spoke to me.

“I was cut out of the wreckage and taken to an ambulance. They told me my wife was dead. I’m heartbroken. I can’t get the scene out of my head. In many ways I died as well we were inseparable.”

He was told in the ambulance his wife had died.

Mr Murilo said he and his wife, both from Brazil, had been married 15 years and had only been five minutes from their home when the tragedy struck.

He said his wife was training to be a teacher and was excited for the future.

“I always drive her home I wanted her to be safe, especially with the high winds. I can’t believe what has happened how could this happen.

A tree which has fallen into a thatched cottage in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire after heavy winds. (PA)

“We were so close. She had never learned to swim because she was scared but I taught her last year and we celebrated by travelling to Menorca to swim in the sea. I called her ‘my little fish’ I loved her so much.”

He added: “I can’t accept she has gone. I asked them in the ambulance and they told me. My life has fallen apart.”

The Christian couple, who regularly attended church together, are being supported by friends and family in the Brazillian and Portuguese community.

Ms Murilo’s sister-in-law Juliana Murilo also paid tribute, writing on Facebook: “The tears flow down my face and my heart tightens every time I remember everything we’ve been through together.

“The despair of not being able to protect you and stop your death. You still had so much life ahead of you, so many dreams to come true.

Damage to the white roof covering at the O2 arena in London, which will remain closed until Friday after parts of it were torn away from supporting ribs by high winds during the storm Eunice on Friday. (PA)

“It hurts to know that I will no longer be able to see your smile, that I will no more have that friend, that counsellor, for all occasions, you welcomed me with open arms, you were the most special person, who passed through our lives.”

Mr Matthews was pronounced dead after officers were contacted at just after 2.10pm to reports that debris had struck the windscreen of a vehicle in Netherton.

Stephen was a passenger in the car and despite the efforts of paramedics he could not be saved.

His family has issued the following tribute: “Stephen was a popular and well-known member of the Aintree community who was tragically taken from us too soon. “The beloved husband of Sylvia and devoted Dad to Jonathan and Robert, he will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends.”

Storm Eunice was regarded as one of the worst extreme weather events in a generation bringing record winds to some parts of the UK.

Jack Bristow, a 23-year-old father from Hampshire, was also a victim of Storm Eunice after a 40ft tree fell on to the roof of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pick-up in Old Odiham Road, Alton in Hampshire.

Despite the best efforts of emergency services, paramedics were unable to save Mr Bristow who was the passenger.

A mourner wrote on Facebook: “Not what I wanted to wake up to this morning, a very good friend for years been taken by the storm yesterday! Shock isn’t even the word.”

“ helped me in a dark place and I will forever be grateful to you! Rest in peace.”

Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page in memory of Mr Bristow who was “loved by everyone he met”.

Father of one Jack Bristow was among the four victims killed in Storm Eunice (Facebook)

Storm Franklin has left severe flooding in its wake and a “danger to life” warning has been issued along the River Severn.

More than 280 flood warnings and alerts have been issued across the UK. Rivers have burst their banks, stranded residents have been rescued by boat, and a railway station has been left looking like a Venetian canal.

Storm Franklin is the third to strike in four days. It comes hot on the heels of Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice, which killed three people in the UK and left 1.4 million homes without power. Some 32,000 are still without electricity.

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