Chunk Lump

Delivering the Best News to you!

A man was killed by a rotten tree which fell on him while he was camping with his wife and 11-year-old brother, an inquest heard.

Ryan O’Carroll, 25, died from his injuries after the ash tree fell on him after he set up camp at Tehidy Country Park in Cornwall.

Ryan’s wife and younger brother were both in the tree tent when it fell.

An inquest heard that he died from massive head injuries after the 20ft tree fell on him.

A jury heard that Ryan had erected the hammock-style tree tent higher than the 4ft maximum recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions, Cornwall Live reports.

Business owner Ryan, his wife Stephanee Leal-Sanchez and his 11-year-old brother Nick travelled to Cornwall from Southampton on August 10 last year for a surfing holiday.

They arrived at East Lodge car park at Tehidy at around 11pm and decided to suspend a tree tent between three trees just off a footpath near the car park.

Using only the light of a phone torch, Ryan attached the tent.

His wife said he pulled at the corners to ensure it was secure and “sturdy”.

Nick got in it, followed by recruitment consultant Stephanie.

As she was halfway in, being supported by Ryan, she remembers falling to the ground and being knocked unconscious.

She then heard Nick calling her name.

Stephanie realised she was stuck in the tent and shouted instructions to Nick to call for help.

The boy ran for help and she managed to get out of the tent to see one of the trees had fallen on her husband.

Natalie Jupp was driving from Hayle with her son Daniel, 19, daughter Amelia, 12, and youngest son Marley, 6.

The family, who live near Gwel an Mor holiday resort, Portreath, drove past the East Lodge entrance.

There are no street lights and no moon light that night and in the complete darkness they noticed a flashing light.

She stopped the car, Daniel got out and started shouting: “Mum help me now, it’s a little boy.”

Daniel picked the boy up while Natalie drove into the car park. She could hear Daniel shouting and a woman screaming.

She told her younger children to stay in the car as Daniel told her: “Mum, it’s a tree. You need to help get it off him.”

Natalie saw Ryan lying on the floor with the tree covering his body and face.

She rang 999 and said the fire brigade would also be needed to lift the tree.

Natalie then asked Daniel’s girlfriend Georgina, who was also with them, to take Stephanee and Nick away so they couldn’t see Ryan.

She noticed the tent had been attached to three trees in a triangular fashion by ratchet ties at around 9ft high.

The inquest had earlier had a report from Ryan’s wife that she thought it was about 6ft.

The maximum recommended height is 4ft.

When one of Daniel’s friends, Timmy Kneebone arrived to help, they were able to lift the tree off Ryan.

Natalie said he was unresponsive and there was no pulse. She carried out CPR and helped paramedics when they arrived, until they found a heartbeat.

Ryan was taken to Treliske before being transferred to the major trauma unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth but sadly he died on August 12.

The causes of death were multiple organ failure, cardiac arrest and dramatic brain injury. The inquest heard Ryan’s injuries were unsurvivable.

A primary investigation was carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police before being passed to Cornwall Council’s corporate safety and well-being team.

A jury inquest had to take place under law because a government agency, in this case Cornwall Council, had investigated.

Sean Oates, the investigating team’s manager, told the inquest that public camping wasn’t permitted at Tehidy and there were notices saying as much in the car park.

The 30-year-old ash tree was not recorded as a hazard.

Two countryside officers, who covered Tehidy, were aware the tree had been dead for at least three growing seasons but it was deemed a low risk and not a subsequent danger.

The Forestry Commission advises that all dead trees not seen as a risk should be allowed to stand.

The tent’s ratchet straps put pressure on the leverage of the rotten tree.

The inquest heard that there was nothing wrong with the tent, which was made by Tentsile Tree Tents and Hammocks.

The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Ian Arrow, senior coroner for Plymouth, said: “I’d like to pay tribute to members of the Jupp family who assisted on the night. It must have been very stressful for them.

“It must have been a terrible shock to Ryan’s family and I send them my condolences.”