Storm death schoolgirl inquest held

Thurrock Gazette: Bethany Freeman died during St Jude's storm. Bethany Freeman died during St Jude's storm.

An inquest will be held today into the death of a schoolgirl killed when a huge tree toppled on to her caravan as she slept in a storm.

Bethany Freeman, 17, was crushed when a 30ft (9m) tree fell down in high winds in Lydens Lane in Hever, near Edenbridge, Kent, last October.

Neighbours told how some came forward with chainsaws to try to help free the trapped sports fan, but she was declared dead.

Bethany and her family were living in mobile homes while renovation work was taking place at their home nearby, according to local people.

Bethany was among four people killed around that time as the St Jude storm battered England and Wales, leaving a trail of destruction.

Winds of up to 100mph swept through parts of Britain, uprooting trees, knocking out power supplies and crippling transport networks.

Bethany's mother Tess Peirce said at the time: "We are all absolutely devastated at the loss of my daughter. I would like to thank the emergency services for their tremendous efforts in attempting to save her."

Bethany was a "universally respected" upper sixth-form pupil at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School who "had everything to look forward to", the school's website said.

A sports enthusiast, she represented the county and local clubs in hockey, cricket and netball, and she was said to be a "dedicated and truly outstanding sportswoman".

The inquest into her death takes place at Tunbridge Wells police station from 10am.

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