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Heartbroken family: Tree tragedy could have been avoided'

PUBLISHED: 11:22 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:22 25 August 2010

ACCIDENT: Much loved mother Pam Davey.

ACCIDENT: Much loved mother Pam Davey.

THE family of a teacher crushed by a 60ft tree fear her death may have been avoidable.

THE family of a teacher crushed by a 60ft tree fear her death may have been avoidable.

Les Davey, 59, of Burnham Road, Dartford, is pursuing Bexley council over claims they were made aware that the tree was rotten before it snapped off and killed estranged wife Pam Davey. Mrs Davey, 53, of Manor Way, Crayford, was walking her eight-month old black labrador puppy Brody on a public path through Barnehurst Golf Course on Saturday, November 14 at 2pm when the tree crushed her to death.

The puppy then ran a mile back home, raising the alarm by whimpering at the front door.

Daughter Alison, 22, heard his cries and went up to the course to look for her mother, phoning her dad Les who rushed to the scene. Mr Davey pulled back the victim's cagoule hood, realising his worst fears.

He said: "It seems that the council may have known about the tree. We are not after compensation, we just don't want another tragedy to happen to anyone else like this.

"Pam's gone, she was a very nice woman, she was a successful head of department at her college. She didn't deserve what happened to her. It's tragic, but maybe it could have been prevented." He is now comforting their daughters Alison and Lauren, 24 and added: "They have been very brave. People have been turning up to the front door in tears and they have been consoling them.

"They have been pretty courageous considering what has happened.

"We have our moments when we have a cuddle and cry."

Bexley council handed the running of the course over to MyTime Active in October, a leisure operator in Bromley borough with a proven track record.

In last month's announcement, Cabinet member for leisure, arts and tourism Peter Catterall said the course is in need of "significant investment and we simply could not justify using public funds to finance this."

The outsourcing to MyTime Active, would enable the course to be brought up to "top class standard."

A spokesman for Bexley council said: "The tragic accident on November 14 is being independently investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, in accordance with normal practice.

"The council and MyTime Active are awaiting the outcome of this investigation and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

Hadlow College, where Mrs Davey taught students with learning disabilities, has created a memorial to her.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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