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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 19:08 GMT
Killer tornado was 'act of God'
Corfe Castle railway station
The family were walking close to Corfe Castle railway station
A grandmother was crushed to death by a falling branch in a tornado described by a coroner as "an act of God".

Pamela Hudson, 57, was walking with her husband and grandchild during a family holiday in Corfe Castle, Dorset, when a pine tree split and fell on her.

Firefighters pulled the boy free but Mrs Hudson, from Harpenden, Herts, was pronounced dead at the scene.

She was the first person in Britain to die in a tornado since 1913. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

An accident which can possibly be described as an act of God, as the true force of nature acting against human kind
Coroner Sheriff Payne
Mrs Hudson's husband, Ian, suffered a fractured right hand in the accident.

He told the inquest in Bournemouth: "The most striking recollection I have is of a terrific rushing noise which was different to a noise I had ever heard before and then almost instantly I found myself surrounded by tree branches.

"I noticed my wife was trapped under what presumably was the trunk of the tree... but there were no signs of movement from her. From that moment on it was absolute mayhem."

Meteorologist Robert Doe, a member of the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation, said the freak tornado left a five-mile trail of damage in its wake with one farmer losing the roof of a barn and another tree left completely uprooted.

It started at Corfe Common and travelled as far as Wareham Channel.

Coroner Sheriff Payne said: "It was clearly an exceptional event. Something that no human steps could have prevented happening. "


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