New Zealander Erena Wilson was killed by a falling tree
branch in Kew Gardens last year. Photo Getty
A friend of a New Zealander killed by a falling tree
branch at Kew Gardens in England has recounted the horrifying
ordeal at an inquest.
Erena Louise Wilson, 31, from Wellington, was walking through
the gardens with friends on September 23 last year, when she
was hit by a Lebanese cedar branch and suffered fatal head
It was raining and windy after a long dry spell just before
the branch fell.
Tree branches are vulnerable to snapping off dropping off
suddenly in such conditions known as 'summer branch drop',
the Daily Mail reports.
However, Kew Gardens hadn't erected warning signs because it
deemed the risk to be minimal, the Wilson family's lawyer,
John McLinden QC, said.
It was a "fluke" the daughter of Ms Wilson's friend Tess
Marshall was not also killed, Mr McLinden told an inquest at
West London Coroner's Court.
The Mail reports that Ms Wilson, an accounts manager, was
walking along a main path when Ms Marshall noticed a large
branch, 6m long and 30cms thick, was crashing down from 18m
Ms Marshall screamed "run" and fled for her life.
"As I was running, I thought the whole tree was falling over.
I was sure it was going to hit me. I was running away and
then I heard a heavy thud. An oomph.
"I wasn't thinking, it was just instinct. I was just
When she looked back she saw Ms Wilson lying on the ground
surrounded by tree debris.
Ms Marshall ran to her aid to find blood coming out of her
ears and mouth, forming a pool of blood under her face.
Ms Marshall's brother gave CPR until paramedics and an air
But Ms Wilson suffered severe head injuries and was
pronounced dead at 2.51pm after 45 minutes of cardiac
Last year, Ms Wilson's uncle, Pieter van Vliet, told the Mail
the family wanted the issue of summer branch drop to be
explored during the inquest to prevent further deaths.
"We're not experts but obviously Kew Gardens has trees, a lot
of them, so potentially there is a good reason for bringing
this up," he said.
The inquest continues.