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No warnings at woodland

PUBLISHED: 21:00 02 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

NO signs were put up to stop people using a Felixstowe woodland where a toddler was killed because no weather warning was received, an inquest heard today.

NO signs were put up to stop people using a Felixstowe woodland where a toddler was killed because no weather warning was received, an inquest heard today.

Jurors heard details of the last minutes of the life of three-year-old Benjamin Davey, who died when his pushchair was crushed by a falling tree in gale force winds.

In a statement Benjamin's mother Veronica Deri told how she heard a crack just before the 23-metre high common ash tree came crashing down.

Ms Deri said she froze as she saw the tree fall on the blue pushchair.

She could see Benjamin lying face down in the dirt at the Grove. She immediately tried to pull the branches off the pushchair and grabbed Benjamin and pulled him through.

"I knew I should not move him but I had to get him out. I pulled him out from under the branches and he lost his boots.

"I scooped him up in my arms and ran with him to the car park," said Ms Deri. "I kept calling out for someone to help but no one came."

When she reached the car park a man came to help her and took her and Benjamin to Felixstowe General Hospital in his Range Rover.

Coroner Doctor Peter Dean said the pathologist report showed Benjamin had died from a severe head injury and he would have lost consciousness at the moment the branch struck him.

"That maybe of some solace to the family that from the instant of impact he would not have known anything at all," he said.

Earlier Ms Deri and Benjamin, of Looe Road, Old Felixstowe, had felt like they were "walking against a wall" as they struggled against the wind to reach the wood. But they felt they would be sheltered in the wood, where they had a picnic of sausage sandwiches and hot chocolate before taking a walk.

Suffolk Coastal Countryside Manager John Davies said the council would not have closed the Grove but would have put up signs if the met office had issued the council with a severe weather warning.

"While we were aware that there were gales and winds expected we had no indication they would be so severe," he said.

The inquest continues.


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