Kiwi killed by London tree branch named

Erena Louise Wilson was killed by a falling tree branch in a London park. Photo / supplied
Erena Louise Wilson was killed by a falling tree branch in a London park. Photo / supplied

The family of a New Zealander killed instantly when she was struck by a falling tree branch in London has thanked those who came to her aid.

Erena Louise Wilson, 31, from Wellington, was walking through Kew Gardens in southwest London with friends on Sunday, when she was hit by a Lebanese cedar branch, receiving "non-survival head injuries", an inquest heard overnight.

Family representative Alan Hunt said the family was "very saddened by the death of our beloved Erena".

"The family wish to express their sincere thanks to the emergency services in England, whom we are told did a remarkable job with their attendance to the scene and their attempts to revive Erena," he said in a statement.

"Our thanks to the police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ High Commission, both in New Zealand and England, for their promptness at getting in touch with and keeping her mother informed and arranging for Victim Support Services, who were with her immediately."

Outside court where her inquest was held, Erena's colleagues told The Telegraph that she was a star with a bright future.

"It is difficult to put into words how we all feel following the tragic passing of our colleague and friend Erena Wilson,'' Gez Lowry, a Human resources manager at the company where she worked, said.

"Whilst it's hard to draw any comfort or understanding at this time, Erena's colleagues are trying to focus on the good times they shared with her on a day to day basis.

"As account manager to one of our major film clients, Erena quickly settled in, becoming popular with her work colleagues and respected by the client she looked after.

"Erena enjoyed working in the media industry and would have gone on to bigger and brighter things, which makes her passing all the sadder. She was happy in her work, had great potential and a long career ahead of her.

"On behalf of everyone at Deluxe, I would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Erena's family & friends at this very sad time.''

Metropolitan Police inspector Simon Young told an inquest at West London Coroner's Court he took statements from Ms Wilson's friends at the scene, the UK Press Association reported.

"They stated they were walking along a path and heard a loud crack believing it was thunder or something similar to that," he said. "They looked up and saw the tree branch descending.

"They then ran and then looked back around and the lady was on the floor in an uncomfortable position, to say the least. There were lots of branches all around her."

Mr Young told the inquest an ambulance was at the scene before he arrived, but paramedics were unable to revive her, PA reported.

The incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive.

Ms Wilson was single and lived in Hanwell, in the west of London. She was identified by her friends Sean and Tessa Britton, Mr Young said.

He told the inquest a post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be multiple injuries, PA reported.

The tragedy came as wintry weather arrived across the country, although the conditions were not mentioned at the inquest.

Gary Baker, who was walking nearby, said the branch came "crashing down" from the 18.2m tree along a footpath that leads to a restaurant in the botanic gardens, in South-West London.

"There was a bang and I jumped around at what sounded like three or four gunshots," he said. I looked and could see what remained of the branch.

"I didn't see it hit the woman but it was quite clear she was badly hurt. Someone shouted, 'call an ambulance' as she lay face down on the ground.

"The branch was extremely large. It was 12 inches (30.5cm) thick at least. It was near her but not on top of her.

"I helped another man to turn her over, on the instructions of the 999 operator, to give her heart massage ... Paramedics arrived but they could not save her."

Mr Baker, a telecoms manager, said: "I heard someone else saying it was like a bolt of lightning. But I didn't see any, it was not that sort of weather.

"There appeared to be at least another couple who were with her, dressed in similar clothes, but they did not say very much. It was a massive shock."

- nzherald.co.nz, Daily Mail

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