A woman who died after she was struck by a hay bale had previously told her daughter she thought they would fall, an inquest has heard.
Charlotte Louise Conroy-Taylor, 45, a Lancashire County Council youth justice area manager, suffered “multiple injuries” in the incident at Beaumont Grange stables in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster.
She had just returned from a holiday with her daughter Zara, 13, when the pair went to see Zara’s horse, Flash, on Tuesday, May 31 last year.
Preston Coroner’s Court heard that “a few months” before the pair, of Moorside Road, Brookhouse, Lancaster, had discussed the dangers of getting hay from the haystacks.
Zara said: “She said not long before the accident, ‘I bet one day one of them is going to fall’, because she wasn’t as happy as she could have been with the way they were stacked.”
The teenager had begun “mucking out” Flash while her mum went to collect hay for the animal, but she heard a scream and found her mother lying on the ground.
Zara said she and her mum would visit Flash after she finished school, between 5pm and 6pm, when most people at the stables had gone home.
She said her mum would normally take care of jobs like filling Flash’s hay feeding net, while she would go for a ride.
Zara told the court the normal procedure was to get hay from a blue trough, or if that wasn’t full, from open bales.
She said failing that they would ask staff for help, or ring them to ask which bale to open, but if nobody answered, her mum would cut hay herself in the cow barn using a knife.
She said: “If the blue trough wasn’t full, which most often it wasn’t, then we would go out to the bales. There would usually be a bale by the stack open.”
Zara said that evening the trough was empty.
She said if it had been full her mum would have used it, because she suffered from chronic back pain, which was at its height at that time of year.
She added: “She would have filled it from there because that was the most comfortable position for her back.
“That was the easiest way she was able to get it because she didn’t have to bend down.”
Preston coroner Dr James Adeley asked Zara if she was ever told what dangers of the hay stack to watch out for, to which she replied “no”.
But she said she had previously been told by staff including Carol Hill, proprietor and Pony Club contact at Beaumont Grange Farm, to get down off bales when she was “playing around” on them with other children, because she would “spook the ponies”.
Mark Savill, representing the Hill family, suggested that the blue trough was only “occasionally” empty.
But Zara disagreed it was “a rare occurrence” for people to have to get hay themselves.
She said it could be difficult to get the hay slices out of the bales and sometimes people would have to “tug and pull” as the remnants could get tangled in twine.
Zara said she recalled seeing a bale with about a quarter of its hay left that was touching other bales.
A consultant pathologist at Morecambe Bay University Hospitals Trust told the hearing on Tuesday that Mrs Conroy-Taylor was found unconscious with a hay bale on her ankles and another bale nearby.
An ambulance was called and attempts were made to resuscitate her in the ambulance and at the Royal Lancaster Hospital, where she was taken.
Mrs Conroy-Taylor was taken to the Royal Lancaster Hospital but died as a result of her injuries.
Dr Nicholas Mapstone said he believed the hay bale had fallen from around five metres and weighed around 1,000kg.