The woman horrifically crushed to death by an automatic garage door has been named as a mother-of-one.

Social worker Heidi Chalkley, 40, was pulled into the rolling metal shutter, which she grabbed hold of after pressing a button to open it.

A friend who was with her frantically tried to pull her free with the help of passers-by but she died "immediately", it emerged today.

Police and health and safety officers are investigating the death at the entrance to the underground car park at a block of flats in Cambridge on Sunday evening.


Cambridgeshire Coroners' officer Paul Garnell said: "A 40-year-old woman was with her friend at the Ruth Bagnall Court and they were in the underground car park because her friend resided at this location. They were going out of the exit via the car park.

"She had pressed the button to operate it and in the process of the shutter going up in an act of silliness she reached up and held on to the shutter.

"She was meant to drop down but her arms got caught and it (the shutter) has pulled her up into the mechanism where it caused death immediately. Members of the public tried to come to her aid but it was unsuccessful."

A local woman, who lives in the block and does not wish to be named, said: "I came outside because I saw the woman crying.

"I said "what's the matter?" and she said something had happened and she needed help.

"I went to look in the garage and saw her legs hanging. It was not a sight to want to remember. It was horrific and I'm doing my best to forget it."

Another woman, who has lived in the block of flats for two years, said: "We were outside and we heard a crash, we thought it was an explosion.

"Then we saw this woman crying her eyes out and after that there were ambulances, police and firefighters everywhere.

"There's a manual switch to open the gate on the inside and my boyfriend thinks that she must have put her hand through to push it and got in trouble.

"He doesn't see how it's possible though because he's tried to do it before and he's got long arms and he still didn't manage.

"Maybe there was someone coming out at the same time and the gate opened and trapped her."

A man who also lives at the site said: "I do not think she lived here. She was visiting a friend I believe.

"She was hanging, that's all I saw. It is a horrible situation. I saw it and it wasn't nice."

There are 72 flats in the four-storey block, which was built in 2004 as part of a £10.5m housing scheme to provide housing for key workers such as teachers and fire fighters.

One man said: 'I have lived here for five years and that door is always breaking. There is an automatic key fob that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

"I don't know how she got into trouble but the door is automatic and is supposed to stop when it catches on something for safety purposes."