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A mother and daughter were killed by a rotting tree falling on a car as the heatwave accelerated the decline.

Elaine Reason, 56, was driving with her 16-year-old Grace as a passenger when the fully grown beech tree uprooted and crushed the car nearly three years ago

Elaine Reason, 56, and Grace, 16
Elaine Reason, 56, and Grace, 16, were driving their Land Rover Freelander when it was crushed by the fully grown beech tree in 2019

A mother and daughter were killed when a rotting tree fell on their car as a heatwave “accelerated its decline,” an inquest has found.

Elaine Reason, 56, and Grace, 16, were driving their Land Rover Freelander when it was crushed by the mature beech tree nearly three years ago.

The tree’s roots were decaying and the previous year’s hot weather had exacerbated its decay, the Gloucestershire Coroner’s Court heard.

The tragedy happened on November 21, 2019 at 10.15pm near Winchcombe in the Cotswolds.

Ms Reason was driving with her daughter as a passenger on the B4077 when the tree, which was on land belonging to Stanway Estate trustees, uprooted and crushed the car in medium winds.







Elaine was driving on the B4077 when the tree uprooted and crushed the car
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Grace was a passenger at the time
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The Winchcombe couple were pronounced dead at the scene after suffering multiple injuries.

The court heard Gloucestershire Police launched an inquiry into the management of the tree and hired an independent expert.

The tree was inspected visually and ultrasonically in 2013 for internal rot, which was within the “acceptable” range and raised no concerns.

It was inspected again in 2017 with no “general change” in its condition, but annual inspections were recommended due to its risky location near the road.







Police recovered the vehicle in Gloucester in November 2019
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Tristan Potter / SWNS)

Gloucestershire Deputy Coroner Roland Wooderson said tree construction consultant Simon Cox found no evidence of annual inspections carried out in 2018 or 2019.

Mr Wooderson read from the report and said: ‘The roots of the tree failed due to extensive root decay caused by a common root fungus and these roots could not support the tree.

“This caused the tree to fall over. Mr. Cox believes that the 2018 heatwave accelerated the tree’s decline.”







Grace (left, with her sister Caroline) was remembered as a “good hearted girl”.
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The coroner said there were visible signs of decay, adding: “Mr Cox believes the tree has shown signs of stress and may have failed a few years previously.

“If the recommendation of the annual inspection were in place, Mr. Cox would believe that the tree would have been identified in 2018 or 2019 as being felled or heavily pruned to prevent it from falling.”

The court heard that the police were questioning two people in connection with the investigation, but took no further action. Neither the Health and Safety Executive.







The court heard Gloucestershire Police opened an inquiry into the management of the tree
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Adam Hughes / SWNS)

Mr Wooderson recorded conclusions that Mrs Reason and Grace died as a result of an accident.

“The evidence indicates that Ms Reason died when a tree fell and hit the motor vehicle she was driving,” he said.

“The reasonable conclusion is an accidental death. Grace died as a result of injuries she sustained when a tree fell and hit a motor vehicle in which she was a passenger.

“The sad conclusion is that of an accidental death.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-daughter-killed-rotting-tree-27316038 A mother and daughter were killed by a rotting tree falling on a car as the heatwave accelerated the decline.

Fry Electronics Team

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