Cancer survivor died after tree fell on him while he slept in park

  • london
  • May 22, 2023
  • Comments Off on Cancer survivor died after tree fell on him while he slept in park
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A 30-year-old cancer survivor who ‘really appreciated the second chance in life’ died after a tree fell on him in a London park, an inquest has been told.

Lukasz Costazza had been resting while socialising with a group of friends in Walthamstow’s Low Hall Nature Reserve on June 9 2015, when an ‘old, redding, dead tree’ fell on him.

Paramedics arrived on the scene within around 15 minutes, closely followed by the police, but despite their efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene just after 9pm.

A post-mortem by Dr Ben Swift revealed Mr Costazza’s provisional cause of death as severe head injuries consistent with the impact of a tree falling on the left side of his head and neck.

In a statement read out by the coroner at the beginning of the hearing at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, his family said: ‘He was hard-working, hearty, family-orientated and very helpful.

‘When he was 16 he won a battle with cancer despite having very little chance of surviving, so he really appreciated the second chance in life.

‘He was resourceful, we never really worried about him, he lived his own life.’

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated whether corporate manslaughter charges should be brought against Waltham Forest Borough Council and local tree surgeon Gristwood & Toms.

However, it was decided that there was little realistic chance of a conviction, so no such charges were brought.

Detective Inspector Martin Head, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, told the hearing: ‘The HSE served notice on the London Borough of Waltham Forest that some work needed to be done to try to make them [the trees] safe. Waltham Forest undertook that work.

‘The view of the HSE at the time was that there may still be culpability for the local authority or Gristwood & Toms in terms of corporate manslaughter.

‘The assessment of the HSE was they [the local authority] may have failed in their duty of care to adequately manage the tree that subsequently fell.

‘In this particular case… there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.’

The jury inquest, which is being presided over by Coroner Greame Irvine, continues.

It is expected to conclude on Friday.

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