Man killed in ‘tragic accident’

A coroner described the death of a Northamptonshire man, who was crushed by an ash tree he had cut down himself, as a ‘tragic accident’.

Geoffrey Osbourne was not wearing a safety helmet or protective clothing when he ventured close to a railway embankment near Kilsby Covert on Friday, November 30, last year in order to chop down wood for use in a burner.

Network Rail workers were felling trees in the area, near Crick, at the time and Mr Osbourne had already made an agreement with the landowner to be allowed to collect any of the already chopped logs on the site.

But the 52-year-old was not given permission to cut any trees down himself.

Two days after Mr Osbourne’s car and trailer were first seen by the embankment, his body was discovered underneath a 10-metre tall ash. An autopsy recorded the cause of his death as asphyxiation.

Deputy coroner Rodney Haig said: “Clearly a tree had been cut and being top-heavy had almost certainly toppled the wrong way. This is clearly a tragic accident and my conclusion is that this was an accidental death.”

Lifelong Leicester City football fan Mr Osbourne loved being outdoors and had worked as a delivery driver for most of his life until only a few weeks before his death.

After the inquest, his girlfriend of 13 years, Elizabeth Morgan, said: “He was a bloke that would do anything for you. If someone needed help he would be there for them.”