Tahnie Martin inquest: Woman killed by timber in Storm Doris

Tahnie MartinImage copyright Facebook
Image caption Tahnie Martin was hit by a piece of timber in Wolverhampton during Storm Doris

A wooden panel which struck and killed a woman during a storm was blown around “like a piece of paper”, an inquest has heard.

Jurors heard the section of water tank cover hit Tahnie Martin after falling from the roof of a six-storey building during Storm Doris in February.

Ms Martin, 29, from Stafford, died after suffering head injuries near Wolverhampton’s Mander Centre.

One witness said the panel “looked rotten”, jurors heard.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Tahnie Martin was walking with a University of Wolverhampton colleague when she was hit

Emma Whitting, assistant coroner for the Black Country, heard part of the cover landed in Dudley Street.

The inquest was told Ms Martin was killed just weeks after getting engaged. Her fiancé Shaun Lee said they were planning a family and “she had so much to live for”.

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The University of Wolverhampton employee was walking with her colleague Raman Sarpal, who was knocked to the ground and treated for a leg injury.

Image caption Inquest jurors heard a witness describe the panel “fell like a leaf”

Jurors heard a statement given to police by witness Rebecca Cresswell who saw the panel hit the women.

“I had a clear view, watching it fall from the sky like a leaf,” she report said. “It took 10-20 seconds to get from top to bottom.”

Ms Martin and Ms Sarpal were discussing how windy it was when they were knocked to the ground, jurors heard.

Image caption One witness told police the timber reminded her of a square dining table

A statement read on behalf of Ms Sarpal said: “I remember hearing the clatter of something on the floor. My legs were hurting and I was saying to Tahnie, ‘I think I can get up’.”

Another witness, Tiffany Whitehall, told police the timber reminded her of a square dining table and said the wood “looked rotten”.

“It looked like old wood that had been out in the elements for a long time,” her statement said.

In another statement read to the jury, a police forensics investigator observed that the structure housing the panel had screws which appeared badly corroded.

The inquest, in Oldbury, is expected to last for up to five days.

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