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Kew Gardens death 'accidental'

Erena Wilson was killed in Kew Gardens by a falling branch in September 2012 Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive

A woman who was killed by a large falling branch at Kew Gardens during a friend's three-year-old's birthday party died accidentally, a jury has found.

31 year old Erena Wilson from Hanwell, was strolling through the Royal Botanical Gardens in September 2012 when the tragedy occurred.

She died from severe multiple injuries.

It had been raining heavily in the hours leading up to the accident and tree branches are vulnerable to dropping off suddenly when they endure long dry spells followed by heavy rain.

John McLinden QC, representing Ms Wilson's family, told West London Coroner's Court said Kew Gardens failed to put up signs warning of the danger because it deemed the risk so minimal, and questioned why it had not fenced trees off.

But Patrick Blakesley, a lawyer representing Kew, said the death was a "terrible freak accident".

After just 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

The foreman told the court the jury found "insufficient evidence to establish the cause of the branch failure".

Unions warn Kew Gardens 'debate'

Unions have called for a "proper debate" on the future of Kew Gardens amid spending cuts which could lead to the loss of more than 120 jobs.

The Public and Commercial Services union and Prospect warned that government funding cuts will "irreversibly damage" the work of the famous Royal Botanic Gardens.

Kew said it was facing "significant financial challenges", including a shortfall of £5 million in the current year.

Garden photography awards at Kew

The awards will be presented at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The International Garden Photographer of the Year awards will take place at Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens today.

The awards are presented for what is considered the world's premier international competition for garden, plant, conservation and wildlife photography.


World's smallest water lily stolen from Kew Gardens after being dug up

A rare plant has been stolen from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew after being dug up from a shallow water lily pond.

Nymphaea Thermarum plant Credit: Metropolitan Police

The 'Nymphaea Thermarum' was stolen from the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

The plant went missing between 8:30am and 14:55pm on Thursday, 9 January 2014 Credit: Metropolitan Police

The plant vanished on Thursday, 9 January 2014. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 8721 5934.

"Fluke" that more people were not killed at Kew Gardens

An inquest into the death of a woman from a falling tree branch at Kew Gardens has been told it was a "fluke" that more people did not die in the same manner.

Erena Wilson, a 31 year old account executive, died while walking in the gardens with friends last year.

She was hit by a cedar branch that fell from a tree during bad weather.

John McLinden QC, counsel for Miss Wilson's family, told the inquest at West London Coroner's Court: "It was just a fluke that there was not more than one fatality or that other people did not suffer very serious injury."

He said that in the past Kew has taken steps to protect the public from falling branches, such as putting up warnings and cordoning off areas, but "these steps seem to have fallen away, for reasons that the family do not know".

The inquest continues.

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