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Housekeeper died after wall collapsed following hurricane, inquest told

A housekeeper from the Philippines was killed when a tree brought down by the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo caused a wall to collapse, an inquest has heard.

Teresita Sison, 58, was walking to work along Kensington Road, near Knightsbridge in London, on October 21 2014 when she was trapped by falling masonry.

Mrs Sison, of Ladbroke Grove, north-west London, was pronounced dead at the scene, the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice heard.

The tree, which was on private property, had fallen in high winds across the road opposite Hyde Park barracks, blocking the path.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe told the jury: "At about 11.35am Mrs Sison encountered the tree as she was walking along the road.

"As she passed beneath it the tree fell further."

She added: "She was killed by the weight of falling masonry and was pronounced dead at the scene."

Police had been alerted to the fallen tree by a member of the public at around 11.05am and cordoned off part of the road when they arrived on scene shortly after, the inquest heard.

But pedestrians continued to pass under the archway formed by the collapsed tree, CCTV footage played to the jury showed.

Detective Constable Bronwyn Wood, of the Metropolitan Police, told the inquest: "As she (Mrs Sison) passed under, the iron fence around the brick wall collapsed fully under the pressure of the tree."

Jessica Gracie was walking her dog along the road when she noticed the tree.

She decided to pass under it after seeing several other pedestrians do the same.

"The tree appeared to be stable and I think there were people walking under the tree in front of me. I decided it was probably the optimum route," she said in a statement read to court.

"I walked my dog under first and I followed. It was clearly open."

She added: "I don't recall seeing any officer on my side of the road and no-one tried to stop me from walking under the tree."

The wall collapsed shortly afterwards as she was walking away.

Kevin Moore, a tree inspector, who examined the poplar, said it was around 80 years old and showed signs of decay.

"It wasn't a matter of if it was going to fall but when it was going to fall," Mr Moore said.

"The tree was just so rotten there was no middle to it," he added.

Mr Moore said the tree - "a big old poplar" - was in a busy area and would have "warranted a closer targeted inspection".

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