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Churchwarden to sue Truro Cathedral after wife's falling death

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Source: Facebook/Truro Cathedral

A churchwarden is bringing legal action against Turo Cathedral two years after his wife died in a tragic falling accident at the church. Jan Stuart, 66, suffered serious head injuries after plummeting down the steps at the back of the building in June 2018. She died in hospital two days later. 

Now, haunted by the notion of someone else losing their life on the stairs, her husband Paul Stuart intends to take legal action in order to see further safety improvements made to the area where his wife fell.

He recalled the horrific accident to Cornwall Live: “After the ceremony, a group of us were stood at the rear of the building, at the top of the Chapterhouse Steps chatting.

“Jan was on my left when all of a sudden I heard a rustle and saw her going backwards headfirst down the brick steps. She hit her head on every step and stopped halfway down. She was unconscious and there was blood coming out of her nose and mouth and from the back of her head."

Paul said he was in total shock and "couldn’t believe what was happening."

“I still see and hear her falling all the time," he added. "I continually agonise wondering if I could have caught and saved her.”

The grieving man went on to contact solicitor firm Slater and Gordon to launch a civil case against the cathedral, after claiming it took two whole years for officials to implement the safety improvements recommended by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Stuart added: "At the inquest we heard that the cathedral were going to make a decision on proposals for each step to be covered in a fibre grid to make them safer but this hasn’t been done. Some improvement works, such as the handrails, have been made but they have made no discernible changes to the surface of the steps.

“I feel like I’m in a total vacuum. I am toddling along and people say time is a healer but it hasn’t been so far. I really think that if those stairs were improved it would help me move on a little but as it is, I’m tormented that the same could happen to somebody else.”

The Cathedral has said it is unaware of a civil claim being lodged, with a spokesperson telling the local outlet that Jan’s death "continues to be a source of deep sadness to us at the cathedral, and indeed across the wider church community here in Cornwall". 

"We continue to hold Jan and her family in our prayers," they added. 

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