THE woman who died after being struck by debris during Storm Doris has been named as Tahnie Martin, The Sun reports.
Heartbroken friends and colleagues of the 29-year-old have paid tribute after she was struck outside Starbucks in Wolverhampton yesterday by a large wooden board which appeared to fall from a nearby rooftop.
Miss Martin’s mum Rosie was said to have been left “devastated” by the death of her daughter, who she was “unbelievably proud of”. Neighbours said she had been left “shattered” and “heartbroken” by the tragedy.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “Tahnie’s mother is absolutely devastated. She was incredibly proud of her. “I can’t believe it. I heard about what happened but never expected it to be anyone from round here.
“Rosie is absolutely crushed and extremely upset as you can only imagine.” Tahnie worked at the University of Wolverhampton as a marketing manager for the Faculty of Arts.
University of Wolverhampton vice chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said: “We are all deeply saddened by this tragic loss. “During Tahnie’s short time at the University she made a real impact both in a professional and personal capacity.
“She became a very popular member of the team and was highly valued.” Dr Aidan Byrne, of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Everyone in the English department is shocked and saddened by the death yesterday of Tahnie Martin.
“She organised our 5oth Anniversary Dinner on Wednesday night, coping with us with humour and forbearance. “She was irrepressibly optimistic and kind, full of ideas and always enthusiastic.
“We were so grateful to her and we’re glad that the last thing we did on Wednesday night was give her a hug and tell her how much we appreciated everything she did. “She will be missed by everyone who knew her.”
Pal Shanenatasha Robinson wrote on Facebook: “Absolutely gutted to hear about Tahnie Lee Martin RIP xx” Dozens of floral tributes have been laid at the scene outside Starbucks in Dudley Street, including from those who stepped in to try and save the woman.
Staff from neighbouring shops are said to have rushed to her after she sustained a catastrophic head injury in the freak accident. A tribute from Post Office staff said: “I’m so sorry I couldn’t help save you yesterday. Thinking of all your loved ones.”
The Next store’s tribute read: “Rest in peace. All staff at Next Dudley Street. A local hotdog vendor wrote: “Such a tragedy. So sorry couldn’t do anything to help. God bless you and your family (Hot dog man & family).”
Another anonymous bunch of flowers had the note: “RIP beautiful angel. God bless + sleep tight.” Shocked passers-by watched in horror as paramedics battled to save Tahnie.
West Midlands Police have launched an investigation. Eyewitness Kitty Jenkins, 38, a Holland and Barrett shop worker, said: “I was out on my lunch hour when it happened. “A piece of debris from the roof just came down and hit her. She went down straight away, I think she died instantly.
“There was blood everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. “A big group of people huddled round her. There was a former GP and a nurse there, so they tried to resuscitate her. “Four or five different people all called 999. The paramedics only took about ten minutes to come, but I had to go back inside by that point.
“She was with a friend when it happened. The chances are that she was out on her lunch, just like me.” A Starbucks spokeswoman told The Sun Online: “We are shocked and saddened by this terrible incident. “We are supporting the police with their investigation and our store will remain closed until further notice.”
Locals described the scene as “utter chaos”. But according to one witness, there was confusion among first aiders about where to find a defibrillator. Ed Blackwell, a store manager at the Mander Centre where the Starbucks is also located, said: “Working in the city I have access to the link radio.
“It was awful hearing the panic on the radio. One of the city’s leading retailers were clearly distressed and asked twice for assistance regarding where they could get defibrillators from. “No response was given until later when she was told the ambulance was on their way
“It’s really concerning that there wasn’t any health and safety awareness yesterday. “Whether defibrillators would have been useful isn’t the point. We should all know where these things are located.
“Maybe lives could then be saved not lost.”