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Elderly West Norfolk man killed by falling tree branch in 'tragic accident', inquest told

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A retired West Norfolk farm worker was killed when part of a tree fell on him as he cut wood for fuel.

A coroner ruled the death of Gerald Wilfred Jackson was "a tragic accident" at an inquest held today.

Mr Jackson, who was 72, was fatally injured on January 24 this year in a meadow at his home village of East Walton.

Norfolk Coroner's Court
Norfolk Coroner's Court

The court heard the site was owned by the farm he previously worked for and there was an "unspoken agreement" that dead wood could be taken from trees in the meadow to be used as fuel.

In a statement, which was read to the court, Mr Jackson's son Adam said his father visited his home on the morning of the incident.

They then went out together to cut wood from a nearby oak tree, which had been partially felled by high winds.

Adam Jackson's statement described him seeing his father with his chainsaw in one hand and his other hand against the tree in the moments before the incident.

He added: "The next thing I remember is seeing the bough (the main branch of the tree) drop and hit Dad."

Mr Jackson was not trapped and was pulled out from under the tree bough by his son, who then carried out chest compressions until paramedics arrived. They were unable to revive him.

A post-mortem examination concluded the primary cause of Mr Jackson's death was a traumatic head injury.

A police investigation concluded that Mr Jackson's death had been the result of an "unfortunate accident" and the Health and Safety Executive was satisfied that the tragedy should not be classed as an industrial incident.

Summing up, area coroner Yvonne Blake said Mr Jackson had died while doing something he had done many times before and was using equipment he was familiar with.

She added: "It isn't anything other than a tragic accident."

Mrs Blake offered her condolences to Mr Jackson's family, several of whom attended the hearing remotely.

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