Cornwall

No charges over Padstow Obby Oss festival death

Obby Oss
Image caption The blue oss costume is one of two paraded around the streets of Padstow each May Day

No charges are to be brought over the death of a woman injured in a May Day festival in Cornwall, police say.

Laura Smallwood collapsed with a neck injury during the annual Obby Oss celebrations in Padstow and died three days later.

Devon and Cornwall Police investigated reports she may have been hit by a hobby horse costume during the event, or that she may have been assaulted.

The force has now referred the death to the coroner.

The 34-year-old suffered a neck injury and was found unresponsive at the festival at about 19:30 BST on 1 May. She was airlifted to hospital in a critical but stable condition but later died.

Image caption Police examined and returned the blue ribbon oss

The exact origins of the centuries-old Obby Oss celebration is unknown but it is thought it could be connected with the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane.

During the event, two hobby horse - or obby oss - costumes are worn by a number of people and paraded through the town, accompanied by dancers, drums and accordions.

Police investigated reports she may have been hit by the blue ribbon oss and looked into claims she may have been assaulted by a woman earlier that evening.

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The force said officers had "decided that there would be no criminal charges brought against any person linked to Laura's death".

"Laura's family are aware of this decision and have worked closely with detectives throughout the investigation," it added.

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