The construction of a hay stack at a Lancashire stables contributed to the death of a mum who was struck by a bale, an inquest jury has said.
Charlotte Conroy-Taylor, 45, suffered multiple injuries after being struck by a bale of hay at Beaumont Grange stables, in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster, on May 31 last year.
Jurors at her inquest at Preston Coroners’ Court have unanimously returned a narrative verdict.
In reaching the verdict the jurors noted the method used to construct the hay stack at the Beaumont Grange Stables, Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster, did contribute to her death.
The husband, daughter, parents and sister of Mrs Conroy-Taylor, 45, from Moorside Road, Brookhouse, Lancaster, were present as Lancashire coroner Dr James Adeley, officially recorded a narrative verdict into her death.
The coroner expressed his condolences to the family and told them he intended to write letters to two equine organisations, the Pony Club and the British Horse Society, to voice concerns and highlight guidance on how to construct hay stacks.
He said: “I hope the family will take some comfort in the fact I will write to the chief executive of the British Horse Society and explains the shortcomings of the society in bringing this to the attention of the public.”
Mrs Conroy-Taylor, a youth justice area manager with Lancaster County Council, was found to have died after suffering multiple injuries whilst collecting hay for her daughter’s horse.
In a statement the family said they were grateful to those involved in the inquest and added: “Charlotte’s family believe that access to hay bales in equitation centres needs to be regulated far more closely than is currently the case.
They are strongly of the opinion that owners and staff at all equitation centres, including those affiliated to the Pony Club, should be made aware of the extreme dangers associated with allowing members of the public to access bale stacks or areas in the vicinity of bale stacks. They are also aware that health and safety investigations by Lancaster City Council into the collapse of the bale stack which led to Charlotte’s death, is still ongoing.”
The owner of the stables, Carol Hill, previously admitted that she was unaware that there were guidelines issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on safely stacking hay bales. The stacks were built by her husband, Stephen, who was also unaware of the HSE document.
Mrs Hill, who was described by Preston coroner Dr James Adeley as being “a rarity” in being so highly qualified as an equestrian instructor, trainer and assessor, described Mrs Conroy-Taylor as a friend.