Inquest: death of woman crushed by tree accidental

An inquest into the death of a homeless woman crushed by a falling tree in Exeter has concluded it was accidental

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Michelle's death was 'accidental'

The inquest into the death of Michelle Conroy heard she was killed when when storms brought down a tree weighing 10 tonnes onto the tent she was sleeping in.

The 21 year old, who was homeless, suffered an "acute severe head injury" during the accident in November 2012.

Today's inquest at Devon County Hall in Exeter heard "severe weather" - high gusts of wind and torrential rain - at the time of the incident caused damage across the country, with 800 homes flooded.

Dr Elizabeth Earland, coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon, concluded the death had been accidental.

The inquest was told Miss Conroy, who was born in Bournemouth, moved to the south west of England in 2007, after being placed in foster care in Guernsey.

She was believed to be "vulnerable" and given a place at Esther Community, a women's hostel in Exeter, but often did not stay there.

Dr Earland noted that no members of Miss Conroy's family attended the hearing, but extended her sympathies to them.

The Revd Canon Anna Norman-Walker runs a soup kitchen for homeless people in Exeter on Fridays. She says she used to see Michelle every week:-


Inquest opens

The inquest has opened at County Hall in Exeter, into the death of a woman after storms brought down a tree on the tent she was sleeping in.

21 year old Michelle Conroy died and two men were injured when the large spruce came down in Exeter in November 2012.

Emergency services managed to free Michelle, who was sleeping rough, but she later died from her injuries in hospital.

Devon and Cornwall Police said Miss Conroy was in a sleeping bag in a tent underneath the tree when it came down in a "tragic accident".

Tributes were left on Facebook to Ms Conroy, including from her partner David Browning:-

You will always be in my heart but it should never have happened to you.

You were too young we still had a whole life to live together.

And thanks to all my friends for the support and I'm sorry to all Michelle's family and friends.

It was a tragic accident.

– David Browning, Michelle Conroy's partner
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