French town pays out over Brit killed by tree

A French seaside resort has paid out more than €100,000 to compensate a British family after a 62-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree planted in honour of Napoleon's son.

French town pays out over Brit killed by tree
A file photo taken on August 17, 2007 taken in the western French town of Hiers-Brouage after a tree crashed onto a pavement cafe, killing an elderly British woman . Photo: AFP

The town of Hiers-Brouage paid out 77,000 euros ($81,000) to the family of Carolyn Thorpe, who was killed by the falling tree as she sat enjoying a mid-morning coffee at a pavement cafe.

Her daughter, Sarah Wright, who was injured in the 2007 accident, received €42,000.

The American ash tree was some four metres (13 feet) in diameter and between six and seven metres high and had been planted on the occasion of the birth of Napoleon I's son, nearly 200 years ago.

It had been preserved as a historic monument but had fallen prey to parasites.

Mayor Jean-Pierre Martinet said at the time of the accident that "everyone thought that it would hold on for a while longer".

The town's current mayor declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Both Thorpe and her daughter were from the southwestern city of Bristol and had been on holiday in the area.

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‘Intolerable spectacle’: Rome council takes months to remove fallen tree

Rome’s city council has finally removed a fallen tree from a residential street near the city centre, weeks after it first fell.

'Intolerable spectacle': Rome council takes months to remove fallen tree
Screenshot from Il Messaggero video interview with Rome resident Dacia Maraini

The tree, which stood on the corner of Via Beccaria and Via Vico near Piazza del Popolo, was toppled during a storm two months ago and lay there until yesterday morning.

Writer and local resident Dacia Maraini said she made numerous telephone calls and emails to the city council and to its Department of Environmental Protection, but did not receive a response.

It was not until the Rome-focused daily newspaper Il Messaggero published her complaint on Monday that action was taken.

Maraini told Il Messaggero that the tree was surreptitiously removed during the night on Monday, and she woke to find the street cleared.

Maraini’s neighbours were thrilled at the result and congratulated her on her efforts.

READ ALSO: Rome residents paint potholes to alert cyclists and shame authorities after woman's death

“Everyone I ran into said thank goodness you did that, thank you, thank you,” she said.

But Maraini herself was less happy.

“Of course I am very pleased that they have cleared the pavement, but it is sad to think that you have to publicly denounce them in a newspaper in order to get something that should be part of the normal service in this city,” Maraini told the paper.

“Many passersby had begun throwing their trash in the tree – there were plastic bags, cigarettes, paper packing, old sandwiches,” she said.

“A pile of waste like that attracts mice, cockroaches, dirty animals.”

Maraini said she has not been contacted by the municipality.