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  1. ITV Report

Landslide death inquest: Council "ignored residents' fears" over land stability

A neighbour of a woman who died in a landslide has told an inquest that Cornwall Council ignored residents' fears over the stability of land in the area.

68-year-old Susan Norman was buried in a landslide which destroyed her ground floor flat in Looe in March 2013.

Susan Norman was found dead in what was left of her home Credit: Family

Timothy Topham lived two doors away and told an inquest in Truro today that he'd lost count of the number of previous land slips there had been in the area.

He said the problems had been going on since 2005.

Torrential rain is thought to have triggered the landslip Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Topham told the inquest jury that Cornwall Council had continually failed to address concerns he and other residents had raised.

He said in the two days before Mrs Norman died the weather had been dreadful.

Mr Topham said he moved back to his home 18 months later but had received no assurances from the council that it was safe.

Questioned by a barrister for Mrs.Norman's family, Mr.Topham said he had written to the council saying he didn't want to sound melodramatic but unless something was done they were running the risk of a loss of life.

Another neighbour,Caroline Temlett said a massive bulge opened up in the retaining wall behind their property in 2006.

The council carried out a survey and in a report in May 2007 recommended putting up a safety barrier.

But Mrs Temlett said they didn't know about the report and had to use a Freedom of information request to reveal its contents 18 months after it was drawn up.

"Our lives had been put in jeopardy,"she said.