Tahnie Martin: Storm Doris victim killed by 'decayed debris'

Image source, Facebook
Image caption, Solihull-born Miss Martin worked at the University of Wolverhampton

Part of a wooden water tank cover that hit and killed a university worker during Storm Doris showed signs of neglect and decay, an inquest heard.

Tahnie Martin, 29, died from serious head injuries after she was hit by the 2m-long piece of timber amid high winds in Wolverhampton city centre.

The debris is thought to have broken away shortly before hitting Miss Martin, from Stafford.

Environmental health officers are investigating, the hearing was told.

Solihull-born Miss Martin, who worked at the University of Wolverhampton, was struck by the cover while walking near a Starbucks cafe in Dudley Street last Thursday.

It is believed the cover was attached to a structure on the roof of the nearby Mander Centre shopping mall.

'Tragic circumstances'

Det Sgt John Garbett, of West Midlands Police, told the Black Country Coroner's Court officers had recovered CCTV footage showing the moment the object fell from a roof and hit Miss Martin.

A joint inquiry with the Health and Safety Executive and Wolverhampton City Council established the cover was thought to have been attached to one of two brick structures on the uppermost roof of the shopping mall, Mr Garbett said.

Environmental health officers are investigating the cover's maintenance schedule, which caused Miss Martin's fatal head injuries, the inquest heard.

A small part of the cover that struck Miss Martin broke off before she was hit, the inquest heard, while a second cover is believed to have been blown on to a lower roof.

Image source, Express & Star
Image caption, Tahnie Martin was pronounced dead near Wolverhampton's Mander Centre shopping mall
Image caption, Flowers were laid at the scene of Miss Martin's death

Mr Garbett confirmed formal contact had not yet been made with the owner of the building.

Adjourning the inquest until April, coroner Zafar Siddique offered his condolences to Miss Martin's family and described her death as an "absolutely tragic set of circumstances".

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