Nurse Laura Smallwood hit by festival costume at Padstow Obby Oss had suffered an injury days earlier

A woman who died after being hit in the back of the head and neck by a giant costume during the Padstow Obby Oss celebration may have been more likely to be injured that day due to a mysterious injury sustained around 10 days before, an inquiry heard.

The inquest into the death of 34-year-old Laura Smallwood is currently taking place in Truro. On the morning of the first day, the hearing heard from various witnesses who saw Laura being punched in the face following an argument in the street hours before the incident with the oss – a large oval-framed hobby horse which marches through the city.

Before being struck by the bone, ‘kind and caring’ nurse Laura was described as acting ‘out of character’, and the inquest also heard testimony from the man inside the suit of dance, Kevin Constance, who said he had no idea he had made contact. with Laura after tripping. Laura tragically died in hospital a few days after her arrival.

Read more: Padstow Obby Oss May Day death: 34-year-old nurse died after being knocked unconscious by wooden festival costume

Read more: Padstow Obby Oss May Day death: Man in suit didn’t even know he punched nurse Laura Smallwood

Day two of the inquest began with medical evidence from pathologist Amanda Jeffrey who performed an autopsy on Laura and Dr. Kathryn Urankar who examined Laura’s brain and associated neck structure.

Dr Jeffrey explained that the subsequent medical examination revealed no significant physical injuries attributable to the bone incident or the altercation earlier in the day.

Dr Urankar said there was evidence of a healing process linked to an injury sustained before the events of May Day.

Cornwall Supervising Coroner Andrew Cox asked Dr Urankar if it was possible the roughly 10-day incident did not come to light until May 1, to which she said yes.

Experts have confirmed that even harmless injury to the vessels that control blood to the brain makes them more vulnerable to other problems during the healing process.

Dr Urankar said there was “no way to tell what the event was or what happened” and that damage and tearing of vessels can be caused in many ways without the person knowing. feels bad or in pain.

Laura’s cause of death was given by Dr. Jeffrey as a brain cell infraction (a stroke) caused by a bilateral vertebral artery dissection (tear).

Dr Urankar said: “There was a tear that fell.”



Mayday ‘Obby ‘Oss celebrations in Padstow.

Dr Jeffrey added: “I cannot rule out that a blow to the face could have caused the damage present. But it’s far more likely that something lingering in the background flipped and got significantly worse around the time of the Obby Oss incident.

“These things can be something that someone doesn’t consider an injury and at that point can be very minor but put extra pressure on the vessel and cause damage.”

Both experts agreed that it’s possible that Laura still suffered catastrophic injuries from the Obby Oss strike, but at the same time, it’s much more likely that the Obby Oss incident was made worse by the previous injury.

The inquest is expected to end Thursday.

Get the best stories and breaking news delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you want here

Gerald R. Schneider