Jacob Gallon, nine, was killed during Storm Malik in January during a pheasant shoot when the branch of a tree fell on him, causing a “catastrophic brain injury”
A schoolboy was killed when a tree branch fell on him during a day out shooting with his father as Storm Malik battered the UK, an inquest was told.
Jacob Gallon, nine, suffered a fatal head injury in the accident on the 400-acre Heath House estate, near Tean, during high winds in the region in January.
Jacob, from Longton had been walking to the third shoot of the day with his dad Daniel Gallon at around 1pm when part of a nearby tree split apart from the trunk and fell on him.
Despite the efforts of emergency services he was later pronounced dead, Stoke on Trent Live reported.
In a statement read out at the inquest, Mr Gallon said his son had been ‘passionate’ about shooting. He said the day had started out fine but, by the time of the third shoot, the wind had picked up.
He said: “We were walking over with a man called Barry. Jake was being his normal self, kicking me and calling me names. Barry’s hat flew off his head, and Jake went to pick it up.
“I looked for Jacob, I couldn’t see him. I hoped he was far enough in front of me.”
He spotted his son beneath the fallen branch while a 72-year-old man was also badly hurt in the incident.
One of the people on the shoot called her nurse sister who carried out chest compressions on Jacob for several minutes, continuing even after paramedics arrived.
A post-mortem examination found that Jacob had suffered a skull fracture, with the medical cause of death given as catastrophic brain injury due to a falling tree.
The inquest heard the wind was described as a gale by some witnesses but it was normal for shoots to continue in similar conditions.
Storm Malik battered the UK in January with likes of up to 93mph recorded in Northumberland. Thousands were left without power and a woman in Aberdeen was also killed by a fallen tree.
An environmental health officer investigated the incident, and concluded no fault could be attached to anyone.
Tree expert Steve Massey found that the branch had split from the tree due to it being hollowed out and decayed, which may have been the case for 20 years.
He said the branch had probably come down on that day due to the particular strength and direction of the wind during the storm.
North Staffordshire assistant coroner Sukhdev Garcha concluded that Jacob’s death had been an accident.
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He said: “Having considered all the evidence, I can say that Jacob died as a result of catastrophic brain injury due to a falling tree.
“Having considered the evidence of both the environmental health officer and Steve Massey, I find that nobody was at fault. I conclude that the death was the result of an accident.”
After the tragedy, Jacob’s grieving friends held a charity football match to raise cash for his family.