Mum and son’s miracle escape as Storm Arwen sends tree crashing through roof

A mum and her eight-year-old son had a miracle escape after a 100ft tree crashed through the roof of their home as they slept during Storm Arwen.

Michelle Duque, 48, and son Adam narrowly avoided serious injury when the branches smashed into their property just inches from where they were sleeping.

The huge poplar tree which backs onto their property in Leominster, Herefordshire, came down in 90mph winds as Britain was battered by strong storms.

Michelle says the shock has left her unable to eat or sleep properly almost two weeks after the tree caused £50,000 of damage to her roof and walls.

The mum-of-three has been temporarily moved into alternative accommodation after her end-of-terrace home was left with a gaping hole in it. The damage has been temporarily covered with a tarpaulin.

Michelle said: “I was asleep at the back end of the house when I was awoken by this almighty thud. I have never heard anything like it.

"In the darkness, at first, I perhaps thought it was a branch that had fallen down.

“It was only when my partner went downstairs to the front door that we realised the devastation it had caused.

“All the neighbours were woken by the crashing sound. One of them had to use their chainsaw to help cut away some of the branches."

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“Seeing all the rubble it caused was awful," Michelle added. "If we had been over that side of the house it could have been a different story.

“The front bedroom, where the tree hit, was empty. And if we were in the attic at the time, we would not be here now.

“If the tree had come down anywhere other than the gable, it would have gone straight through the roof easily. I dread to think what could have happened."

Michelle, who has lived at the housing association property for eight years, believes the tree’s on her street have been an accident waiting to happen for the last 20 years.

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She said: “My anger is aimed at whoever owns those trees. They are apparently in a no man’s land. They were an accident waiting to happen.

“Residents have been complaining about them for the last 20 years, saying they are a hazard.

“Maybe five or six years ago, one fell down and clipped the corner of a house further down the street.

"So it was a matter of time before something like this happened."

Housewife Michelle has said the terrifying near miss has left her feeling scared of any strong winds, fearing another tree could come crashing down.

She said: “It affects you. You hear a storm and you think, ‘Is there a tree about?’.

“I know the neighbours are all jittery about the trees on the back. I’m not eating or sleeping properly.

“At the time it happened, while [I was] in shock, [neither] the fire service, police nor I could get through to the Stonewater Housing Association emergency number.

“This was distressing and upsetting, and a concern to anyone else who may need to contact them out of hours.

"It took me until 10am the next morning to get through and we are still waiting for the repairs to take place now."

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