Laura Smallwood Wiki
Laura Smallwood Biography
Who is Laura Smallwood ?
A mother-of-two who died after being hit by a wooden horse costume during a Cornish May Day festival had her “back turned but should have known how to face it with her hands”, an investigation has found.
Laura Smallwood was shot down by Obby Oss, one of two used at the festival, in Padstow, North Cornwall, on May 1, 2019.
A witness told Cornwall Coroner’s Court today how she saw the man in the blue suit hit her on the back of the head, but said she had “carried on as normal”.
Her condition later deteriorated and she died three days later at the hospital where she used to work as a pediatric nurse in Plymouth.
An inquest is looking into whether she died from the impact or if an altercation with a woman earlier in the day played a role.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Smallwood’s husband, Oliver, wants the court to determine whether the management of the event was properly organized.
The Obby Oss is made from a two-meter wooden frame covered in black oilcloth with a small horse’s head on the front.
There is a blue one known as Peace Oss which tries to discourage excessive drinking by Red Oss supporters.
There are two separate processions which run through Padstow on circuits lasting 12 hours.
Witness Sian Howells told the hearing that Ms. Smallwood
Witness Sian Howells told the hearing that Ms. Smallwood got “very rude and angry and I’ve never seen her like that before” at the part of the route where the two teams passed each other.
She said that she was two meters away from her when Oss started to dance. She said: ‘Laura had gone behind the Oss.
‘Suddenly, the Oss moved backwards. It is very rare that it goes backwards. As he fell, Laura was on her feet, her back to the Oss.
The only thing they always tell you is that she doesn’t turn her back on the Oss. Most people face the Oss with their hands outstretched.
Laura would have known better. I could see him coming at her, the edge of the Oss hitting the back of her neck.
She said that the band was playing and that Mrs. Smallwood would not have listened to her warning. ‘I could see what was going to happen, but there was nothing I could do.’
She said that she could see that the Oss hit her head with a significant impact that would injure her and knock her down.
She said: ‘She was knocked down and it looked like she fell to the ground. She carried on as normal and hadn’t been hit as hard as she thought.
The man in the Oss had fallen but got up and the procession went on, but she did not see Mrs. Smallwood after that.
Another witness, Charlotte Stupple, said that Mrs Smallwood had been laughing at an earlier “fight” with a young woman named Chelsea Powell.
But she said: ‘The person carrying the Oss must have slipped and the frame fell towards all of us. I didn’t see the Oss hit Laura.
She said that Mrs. Smallwood said she was fine, saying ‘It hurts a little’ and she rubbed the back of her head once or twice.
But she then grabbed her arm saying that she felt dizzy and she thought the dizziness was due to the drink.
‘Thirty seconds later, Laura grabbed my arm and said ‘Charlotte, my face.’ I could see that the right side of her face by her mouth had fallen off.
Mrs Smallwood was aware of people looking at her and said, “My head hurts.”
Her breathing was labored and Ms. Stupple looked away as emergency crews tended to Ms. Smallwood before she was taken to hospital.
The inquest was told her death may have been caused by injuries during several different incidents.
The coroner said one of her issues was whether she died from injuries sustained when the Oss fell on her while being carried by a man named Kevin Constance.
She said another explanation was that she sustained injuries during an altercation with Powell that same night that occurred outside of Rick Stein’s bakery.
The coroner said that Ms Smallwood may have sustained injuries caused by an unidentified event about ten days earlier, or the fourth possibility was that she sustained some injuries in “some other way”.
Ella’s husband Oliver also wanted to know if the management of the event was organized properly and if any changes had been made.
The inquest at Cornish Coroner’s Court in Truro heard that Ms Smallwood was a pediatric nurse who had returned to live in Padstow and had worked in the hospital where she died.
Her husband said that she was a loving, fun, happy and strong person who had no medical conditions or illnesses.
The court was told that the May Day festival is a long-standing celebration to welcome summer and is “an integral part of Padstow”.
Smallwood said that the Blue Ribbon Oss, known as the Peace Oss, traveled through town along with the older Red Oss, and Mrs. Smallwood supported the latter.
She said that she received a phone call at work in a pub at 7 p.m. that night saying that Mrs. Smallwood had been “knocked out”. She went looking for her ‘lying on the ground’.
She said she was being given CPR and then an air ambulance arrived to take her to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Ms Norfolk said she thought Ms Smallwood
Ms Norfolk said she thought Ms Smallwood, who was holding the area with her mouth, would be okay because people were with her, adding: “Oss hits people all the time.”
She then saw that they were giving her CPR and ran to her before her medical staff took her away.
But Mrs. Norfolk did not see the incidents when Mrs. Powell or the Osses punched Mrs. Smallwood in her face.
Padstow lifeboat crewman Michael Dennick said a tall man grabbed Ms Smallwood by “the back of her head, each side of her clothes” during the fight with Ms Powell.
He said: ‘The tall man was shaking her off of her, pushing her, pulling her back very aggressively’ and the man would say to Mrs Smallwood: ‘Stop it, you are destined to be her mature one’.
Ms Powell told the inquest: “I pushed Laura’s face but it wasn’t a slap or a punch. The streets were packed.
Cornwall Senior Coroner Andrew Cox has apologized to the victim’s family for the delay in the investigation due to the pandemic.
The investigation should last three days.
Laura Smallwood Quick and Facts
- Laura Smallwood was knocked down by a Obby Oss in Padstow in north Cornwall
- Sian Howells told inquest Ms Smallwood ‘very rude and angry’ in part of festival
- She said she could see the Oss hit her with an impact that would knock her over
- Witness Sian Howells said ‘you are always told not to have your back to the Oss’
- She added that ‘Laura would have known better’ but the Oss hit the back of neck