England

Mother's warning after hedge trimmer death in Ringmer

The mother of a woman from East Sussex killed by a faulty hedge trimmer has warned other people of the dangers of electrical goods malfunctioning.

Jan Hobday's daughter, Laura, 35, was gardening when she received a fatal electric shock while trying to clear leaves that were jammed in the device.

"This goes to show that we are all very vulnerable to these kind of events," said Mrs Hobday, from Bedford.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest on Friday.

Mother-of-three Miss Hobday was found lying barefoot in the garden of her home in Ringmer, near Lewes, by friends who became concerned when she failed to collect one of her sons from nursery school on 2 June last year.

Her youngest boy Joshua, who was then 22-months-old, was found sleeping beside her.

East Sussex coroner said the death was caused by an error in a home repair on the wiring of the trimmer.

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Hobday said: "Laura was operating the trimmer and had no knowledge of its history.

"Leaves had got stuck in it, so she took part of it off to clear it, thinking that would make it safe.

"That's the kind of thing anyone would do. What she didn't realise was that the bit she touched was still connected to the mains plug. She didn't know that was where the danger lay."

'Take no risks'

Mrs Hobday, 55, described her daughter, a business law graduate, as a "brilliant mother" who would not have taken any unnecessary risks.

"Laura was a very intelligent woman, but she still made that decision that she thought was safe.

"She would never have taken any risks."

Mrs Hobday urged others to take care when using such items and to have them fixed by experts if anything went wrong.

Her grandchildren Zach, six, Luc, four, and Josh, nearly three, are now cared for by their father, who was separated from Miss Hobday.

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