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Pictured: Dog walker, 67, whose loyal pet refused to leave his side after he was killed by a falling tree during Storm Ciara


Feb. 17, 2020

Tributes have flooded in after the shock death of a dog walker who was killed by a falling tree during Storm Ciara.
Donald Hamilton Baxter, 67, was walking through Black Wood, in Woolton, last Tuesday as the storm battered the UK.
The man's dog was still at his side when police and paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced him dead.
Taz the dog is now being looked after by Mr Baxter's family, who released a statement to Lancashire Live which said: 'Donald was tragically killed on the 11th February 2020, whilst walking his dog.
'He was loved by all of his family and friends. He will be sadly missed and his devoted dog Taz is being cared for by a relative.
'Funeral details will follow.'
A police spokesman said: 'We can confirm that the man hit by the falling tree branch in Black Wood in Woolton has sadly passed away.
'The man, who is in his 60s and from the Liverpool area, has now been identified and his next of kin have been informed.
'Road closures remain in place in the area.'
A council spokesperson said: 'The council is shocked and saddened to hear of this death and all thoughts are with the gentleman's family and friends.
'The ancient woodland belongs to Liverpool City Council and the council will co-operate fully with any subsequent investigation.'
Pensioner Elizabeth Sorsky, 79, who has lived on a street overlooking the park for 26 years, said: 'We have been on about the trees for a long time - we have sent letter after letter and have complained and complained and complained to the council.
'And now a man who went out for a walk in the morning has died. It's horrendous - the dog was still waiting for him.
'Maybe now the local authorities will pull their finger out and do something.
'The trees are so close to the road that they could fall on school children going to the local school, or on our house.'
Mrs Sorsky said that a lady on her road told her a woman ran out of the woods saying a man had been hit by a tree, and another neighbour went to check his pulse, but found he was dead.
Elizabeth's husband Philipp Sorsky, 80, a retired social research interviewer added: 'It's terribly sad.
'Three years ago a tree fell and it smashed the wall of the house two doors down.
'Luckily the car wasn't in the drive and the children weren't going out to school.
'There used to be people who came and picked up things and cut the trees back but no longer, or they just blow the leaves around and do nothing else.'
Woolton resident Mrs Donohue, 64, who lives opposite the woods, heard the moment the tree fell.
She said: 'I heard the tree fall about quarter past 10.
'I had just got up and was opening my curtains when I heard it in my upstairs bedroom.
'It was just like a crack, that was all.
'It didn't sound like anything much, so I didn't think to alert anyone.
'I just thought it was a branch breaking - we don't usually have much trouble with any of the trees.
'It was only when I saw the police and fire engines arrive later that I thought something might have happened.'
Retiree Raymond Garnett, 78, from Woolton, witnessed the police cordon shortly after the tragedy.
The pensioner said: 'I was walking my daughter's dog through the park when I came across the police cordon.
'I was trying to find a way out when a lady police officer allowed me through the cordon at the Woolton Road entrance to the park.
'It was about 12:30pm. It was very windy, it was quite dangerous - lots of branches were swaying.
'The policewoman advised me not to go through wooded areas and she saw me through to safety.
'There was another dog walker there who offered to take the man's dog, but the police said the dog was being looked after, I don't know who by.
'After lunch around 2pm I came past the gate again and it was padlocked off.'
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