Cornwall

Ryan O'Carroll inquest: Rotten tree led to aerial tent death

Ryan O'Carroll with surf board Image copyright Nathan Hanslip
Image caption Ryan O'Carroll was on a surfing trip to Cornwall when the accident happened

A camper was fatally crushed by a rotten tree which fell as he helped his family into a hammock tent, an inquest has heard.

Ryan O'Carroll, from Southampton, had suspended the tent from three trees in Tehidy Country Park in Cornwall on 11 August.

The 25-year-old suffered serious head injuries when one of them fell down, crushing him underneath.

A jury at Plymouth Coroner's Court concluded his death was an accident.

The inquest heard that Mr O'Carroll was helping his wife Stephanee Leal O'Carroll and younger brother Nick into the tent at the time of the collapse.

Image caption Tehidy Country Park is the largest area of woodland in west Cornwall

Mr O'Carroll went into cardiac arrest and died of multiple organ failure at about 11:00 BST on 12 August.

The inquest heard the family arrived at Tehidy "very late in the evening" and the tent was erected "in the dark with limited light from a phone torch".

Witness Natalie Jupp, who had been driving past with her family, told police that she believed the tent was erected about 9ft (2.7m) off the ground.

The tent's manufacturers said that it should not have been higher than 4ft (1.2m), the inquest heard.

Jurors heard there was no evidence to suggest there was anything was wrong with the tent.

Image caption The court heard that no public camping was permitted at Tehidy

Mrs Leal O'Carroll said she was halfway inside the tent when her brother-in-law started shouting.

The inquest heard she was knocked unconscious and woke up trapped inside the tent, before being rescued by the Jupp family.

An accident report by Cornwall Council found that the tent was attached higher than it should have been to a rotten tree in a non-designated camping area that was "clearly signposted".

The council said it was aware of the tree, which was being kept under observation, and that in normal circumstances it would have remained standing for at least another year.

The court heard that no public camping was permitted at Tehidy, and anyone found in the area would be asked to move on.

Image copyright Nathan Hanslip
Image caption Ryan O'Carroll's business partner Nathan Hanslip (right) described him as "one of a kind"

Mr O'Carroll's family released a statement last year in which they described him as "determined, head strong and passionate about life".

His parents, Giselle and Jeff O'Carroll, said: "He had built a successful telecoms business with his partner, Nathan. Employing close to 60 staff, including his brother Derek and sister Jess".

"We are very proud that he was our son and what he achieved, his legacy will forever go on.

"He will be sorely missed and loved by us deeply," they said.

Nathan Hanslip, Mr O'Carroll's business partner, said: "Ryan was an inspirational best friend, brother and business partner."

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