A nurse from Cornwall died after being struck by a May Day snapping horse costume known as an oss, an inquest has heard.
Laura Smallwood, 34, was attending the Padstow Obby Oss on May 1, 2019 when the tragic incident occured.
The respected nurse from Treliske had also sustained an injury after being struck in the face earlier during the day following an altercation with another woman, reports CornwallLive.
After being struck by the costume and being knocked unconscious, Laura was airlifted to Derriford Hospital where she tragically lost her life a few days later.
The traditional May Day event features two large oval frames, hobby horses, that parade through the town.
The large oval frames are covered in black oilskin, which have a small horse's head at the front with a snapping jaw.
The first witness to give evidence at the inquest to senior coroner for Cornwall Andrew Cox was Laura’s tearful husband Oliver Smallwood who described how his wife was “very caring”, “very strong” and always amazed him, adding “she was really happy and a fun kind of person”.
Mr Smallwood described how he had phone contact with his wife throughout the day as he was working as a site manager in a pub.
He told the inquest it was around 7pm he was informed Laura had been hit by the oss and that she’d been knocked out. He did however state that he was told initially she was ok.
Mr Smallwood recalled walking up to Stile Field and seeing Laura lying on the ground. He went with her in the Air Ambulance to Derriford but tragically, despite initial optimism, her condition deteriorated over the course of a few days and she died on May 4, 2019.
Next up to give evidence was Laura’s friend, priest Kirsten Norfolk. She spoke of how she, Laura and others shared a couple of bottles of wine before going into Padstow square to watch the oss celebrations.
Ms Norfolk said that it was very busy and Laura became involved in an argument with Chelsea Powell and a male who was with Ms Powell. The argument culminated in Ms Powell striking Laura and leaving a mark. Ms Norfolk said “it was over as quick as it started” and everybody laughed about it and moved on.
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Ms Norfolk said she arranged to meet Laura shortly later at Stile Field. She said: “I tried ringing her and there was no answer. I was told Laura was crying and had been hit by the oss. A number of people were with her so I thought she’d be ok. People get bumped by the oss all the time so assumed she’d be fine.
“I could see something in the distance where we left Laura and ran back and could only watch her be taken away by medical staff for treatment. I didn’t see her get hit in the first incident or by the oss.”
The inquest continues.
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