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Clerkenwell woman ‘lucky to be alive’ after tree crashed through her kitchen window

PUBLISHED: 09:53 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 26 October 2018

Jacqueline Cuthbert standing by the window where an 80 foot tree smashed through. Picture: Polly Hancock

Jacqueline Cuthbert standing by the window where an 80 foot tree smashed through. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A woman claims she’s “lucky to be alive” after an 80ft tree came crashing through her kitchen window in Clerkenwell.

Jacqueline Cuthbert could have been crushed by a falling tree. Picture: Polly HancockJacqueline Cuthbert could have been crushed by a falling tree. Picture: Polly Hancock

Jacqueline Cuthbert, of St John Street, says she spent 37 years pleading for the trees removal but nothing was done.

Stormy winds uprooted the tree, which stood in the council-run Spa Green Estate, and it came toppling through Jacqueline’s garden and into her house at about 11pm on January 2.

“The tree came through my kitchen and hallway window,” she said. “I usually hang my clothes up just by the window and had I been there then it would have killed me.

“I was half asleep when I heard the crash. It was like a giant squid breaking through my window. It was really scary”

“I was asking for that tree to be removed for 37 years.

“The tree wasn’t even in my garden – I kept saying it’s not stable and it’s going to fall.”

Jacqueline, 60, lives in a flat managed by Partners for Improvement in Islington (PfI).

She says it took the council five months to remove the tree. And it still hasn’t repaired her back yard, where steps were shattered from the trees impact and the garden walls are teetering on the point of collapse.

“I’ve been told [by council contractors] not to go out there because its so dangerous. They said I can’t even open my back door.

“I’m paying rent for a garden and patio I’m not allowed to touch, And they have just increased my rent too.”

She added: “There is a gang of about 30 children that keeps climbing onto my garden wall. It’s not safe. I fear it will fall and crush them.”

The Gazette understands the council has struggled to find a contractor to fix her garden. But the repair work was due to start this week.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that it has taken so long for Miss Cuthbert’s garden wall to be restored – Islington is a dense urban borough and we appreciate the importance of outdoor space for resident’s wellbeing.

“We have been working to make the site safe, complete engineering work and engage specialist contractors, and we hope to begin reconstruction work next week.

“We know that this is a frustrating time for Miss Cuthbert and we are doing everything we can to ensure that restoration of her garden wall is completed promptly.”

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