London

Death crush tree maintenance 'inadequate'

Emergency services attending the scene Image copyright EPA
Image caption The tree was growing on private land opposite Hyde Park Barracks in west London

The maintenance of a diseased tree which fell, then fell further, crushing a housekeeper was "wholly inadequate", an inquest has found.

Teresita Sison, 58, of Ladbroke Grove, was walking beneath the fallen tree in Kensington Road in October 2014 when it dropped again, killing her.

The jury at the Royal Courts of Justice also said the police assessment of the danger to walkers was "insufficient".

However, they concluded Mrs Sison's death had been "accidental".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Teresita Sison's husband Roberto, seen here with her, was in court to hear the jury's findings

The tree was growing on private property at Rutland Gate, opposite Hyde Park barracks, and fell as the UK was hit by the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo on 21 October 2014.

CCTV footage shown in court showed pedestrians walking underneath the natural arch which was formed by the fallen tree as it rested against railings and a wall.

Tree expert Kevin Moore told the inquest: "It wasn't a matter of if it was going to fall, but when it was going to fall".

He said the tree was about 80 years old and had the consistency of "Weetabix" because of severe decay.

Announcing the jury's findings, the spokesman said the tree was "in a bad condition" because of the "wholly inadequate maintenance by the owners of Upper Rutland gardens".

"The police assessment and the subsequent dynamic assessment was insufficient", the jury spokesman also said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The inquest previously heard Mrs Sison was killed by the weight of falling masonry

The court previously heard five police officers who were at the scene had looked after traffic management, rather than taping off the pavement to walkers.

Speaking on behalf of Mrs Sison's husband Roberto, his legal representative Vidisha Joshi said Mr Sison was "pleased the inquest is finally over".

"We feel that Mrs Sison's death could have been avoided but we respect the jury's conclusion of accidental death," he said.

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