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Dramatic pictures of Exeter tree crush death scene following the floods

By Echonews  |  Posted: November 25, 2012

  • Scene of tree crush death in Exeter floods

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These dramatic images show the scene where a young woman died in Exeter after being crushed by a tree.
Police have confirmed that the woman, thought to be in her early 20's, died following the incident off Western Way in the city centre.
The tree fell at around 11.50pm on Saturday night, near to the junction with Barnfield Road in Exeter. Two other paeople were injured.
As these pictures show, the falling tree caused a wall to collapse. A small group of homeless people have been living in tents at the site for some time.
When police arrived at the scene three casualties were confirmed. One person was trapped and receiving treatment. They were being described as seriously injured. Two others who were clear from the tree were also receiving treatment.
The tree was described as a very large spruce tree which had come down across a wall into the roadway.
The seriously injured female casualty was taken to hospital. A short time later she was declared dead by medical staff.
A police spokesman said: "This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the deceased's family and friends. We are currently trying to contact the next of kin."

Video on the scene this morning:

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  • Aemaeth  |  November 26 2012, 11:54PM

    tuftyaurelius - I genuinely appreciate your thanks. To be honest it's not something we expect or get often. I really wish it was possible to make what I'm trying to say clearer, it's very hard considering that this discussion takes place beneath an article detailing something so sad. I would like to reiterate that the fault does not lie with the Police. They "have" moved that group of tents on from that specific location, they "have" warned people of the dangers. Please consider that if the Police take these precautions and people still choose to pitch tents where they want to, there are only a certain number of things that can then happen. Maybe it would have been better if the Police had confronted the rough sleepers in those tents on Saturday and they had moved on but in all honesty the likelihood that people would have been happily willing to dismantle all the tents and find another location in the dark and in the rain is very small. If there had been a confrontation, people would probably have been cautioned or arrested - depending on the capcity of Heavitree Police Station on a Saturday night. There is the chance that may have saved a life but then what happens? It's only a matter of time before someone else unfortunately ends up in a similar cirumstance. We want to stop the repeating cycle of people blaming and crying out for accountability "after" something has happened. We want to make a difference now and prevent things like this from happening in the future but we need help to do it.

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  November 26 2012, 11:21PM

    Aemaeth, you and others are doing good work! Many thanks on behalf of the Exeter domiciled, cosy community. Like many others I feel the police could have moved them on to safer land or at least had an opportunity of doing so...no one needs to be a learned arborist here?

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  • Aemaeth  |  November 26 2012, 11:10PM

    In response to tuftyaurelius. No, they weren't "drinking tea in Heavitree Police Station". The particular group of tents in question has been repeatedly moved on by the Police both recently and in the past, there have been warnings issued about the weather and the risks in high rain and winds. Many people have no understanding, or do not wish to entertain the idea, that the Police actively work with the Homeless shelters in Exeter and with all the other Projects and agencies, as do the Churches. I see the Police on a regular basis whilst working with the Homeless and they do their best to advise people of the risks of sleeping rough. I understand your anger and frustration but please understand that the Police are not to blame for this. The entire idea of "blame" serves absolutely no purpose and achieves nothing with regard to this situation. Unless you actually work with the Street Homeless and those accomodated within the resettlement projects in Exeter you are unable to see or to comprehend the whole picture and to understand the reasons behind the decisions people make that lead to tragedies like this. You can spend an eternity on the "what ifs" but if you're determined to say that this wouldn't have happened if the Police had done something more than they already had, you could also say that if there had been more volunteers or more funding or more buildings within Exeter that could be used as temporary shelters in bad weather then this wouldn't have happened. All of which could be true but none of which change what has happened. The biggest difference you could make now is either to volunteer, to fundraise, or to raise awareness of the situation and the Charities and organisations that provide support within Exeter. With winter hastily approaching, Winter Provisions may come into effect within Exeter - extra spaces for rough sleepers are offered but volunteers are needed to help make this possible. If you wish to do so then please contact any of the organisations listed below and offer to volunteer or find out what you can do to help. SHOT - Street Homeless Outreach Team. http://tinyurl.com/dxswhpa)%20#.ULP2K4eTpIV PORCH Project - http://tinyurl.com/crxkuzz Keychange Exeter, The Esther Community. http://tinyurl.com/czemuys Shilhay Community - http://tinyurl.com/cpayh8k The Soup Kitchens - http://tinyurl.com/clssnlo The Exeter Street Pastors - http://tinyurl.com/c855g87

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  November 26 2012, 10:31PM

    On the wet and windy night in question, the police knew about this spot being popular with the homeless. A pitched tent, directly under the tree was clearly visible from the road. One wonders how many cop cars drove passed seemingly in complete ignorance of a most dangerous practice of pitching tents under trees. Forget about helplines etc being available! The 21 year old homeless woman could have avoided death from that dangerous tree by being given advice by a community policeman/policewoman. Where were they on that fateful night? Drinking tea at Heavitree Police Station? They in authority did not wish to act.

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  • Aemaeth  |  November 26 2012, 10:27PM

    I would very much like to ask each and every one of you who has commented if you'd like to volunteer to work in one of Exeter's resettlement projects or perhaps with the Outreach services that try desperately to offer support to those sleeping rough throughout both Devon and Cornwall. With a little online research you can find the details and I think the experience, insight and genuine understanding you could gain from actually working with Exeter's homeless and rough sleepers would show you the problems and complexities faced by all of us who do this work on a daily basis. The "authorities" as such make an easy scapegoat for the blame here but I think people misunderstand, or are not aware of the reality. Within Exeter, the situation concerning homeless people is a mixture of both a lack of resources and funding that allow the agencies within Devon & Cornwall to offer adequate support and accommodation and the choices that people themselves make. It is hard to understand or even to believe but yes... sometimes people do choose to sleep outside in tents, even when they have the option of staying indoors. Pointing fingers after an event only serves to ignite a feeling of self-righteousness and goes some way to soothing the souls of people who want something done but aren't the ones actively making a difference. I personally work within this sector in Exeter, with homeless people and with rough sleepers, I can understand the desire to blame our council or the government after an incident like this but I sincerely wish it didn't take a tragic loss of life to raise awareness. Yes, there "is" a lack of funding and it would be amazing to have extra resources but that won't happen unless the need is highlighted. Again and again. If you are local to Exeter I would urge you to research the Projects and agencies within our locality, we rely heavily on volunteers - especially in periods of terrible weather. If you would like to make an actual difference to providing support for rough sleepers and the homeless within Exeter and Devon then please offer to volunteer. As has been mentioned previously, there is a specific hotline (Devon & Cornwall Rough Sleeper's Hotline: 0800 151 3441 or there is an online form at: http://tinyurl.com/roughsleeping) through which you can let people know if you've seen a rough sleeper. These calls are taken seriously and the information is used, it's not just discarded or ignored. And... this hotline has been publicised. Both through the Express and Echo, online and through other media outlets. Sadly people will hear about it or read it and then forget about it so please, make a note of the number and pass it on. If you do see someone sleeping rough then call the number or use the online form. It really does make a differenc and if you don't understand how the system works currently, you really have no idea of the difficulties we face when we try to help and care for people who are homeless and how that help and care is severely limited by the lack of funding and genuine understanding of the situation. Seventeen comments on this article are not enough to change the system or to make a difference to people trying to rebuild lives shattered by mental health problems or those trying desperately to overcome drink or drug addictions. There is a harsh and sad reality that needs to be faced by all of us and by people who wish to actively help before this situation can be changed for the better.

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  • TonyS  |  November 26 2012, 7:52PM

    If anybody thinks that she actually would've chosen to camp out in that weather, then they need a word with themselves! This doesn't show Exeter in a very good light at all! It's a systematic failure from the top down. The local authorities,police and churches could all have prevented this by trying to offer shelter for the night. Even a church or village hall!To say this is a tragic accident is a cop out-they shouldn't have been there in that weather and no sodding phone line is going to be any use if everyone can't be bothered to help! Shame on Exeter and shame on anyone in a position to help but didn't!

  • TonyS  |  November 26 2012, 7:46PM

    If anybody thinks that she actually would've chosen to camp out in that weather, then they need a word with themselves! This doesn't show Exeter in a very good light at all! It's a systematic failure from the top down. The local authorities,police and churches could all have prevented this by trying to offer shelter for the night. Even a church or village hall!To say this is a tragic accident is a cop out-they shouldn't have been there in that weather and no sodding phone line is going to be any use if everyone can't be bothered to help! Shame on Exeter and shame on anyone in a position to help but didn't!

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  • pinhoe_jc  |  November 26 2012, 7:21PM

    it's simply false to claim that there are beds available for any rough sleepers who want them. if you fit into certain categories you may be offered a bed for the night, which could be anything from a b&b to a chair in a hostel full of people with drug problems. if you don't fit into these categories then you're left to take your chances on the streets that's not the council's fault, these are nationwide policies (that also existed under labour as much as the tories)

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  • Chelfan1  |  November 26 2012, 6:15PM

    Such a shame,anybody can become homeless and nobody knows the cirumstances. I. can't imagine anybody choosing to sleep out in a tent in this terrible weather,but how were they to know that the tree was going to fall.Probably thought they would be sheltered. Such a shame. Thoughts are with the family.

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  • vulcan  |  November 26 2012, 5:22PM

    I for one find it difficult to believe that anyone would choose to sleep in a tent beside a busy road in winter with all the discomfort and risk if there was a warm safe room on offer. From what I can gather the beds provided for the homeless are seedy at best and on a one off 'drop in' basis.

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