A TREE surgeon died in a “freak accident” which saw him plummet 40 feet from a tree.

Daniel Edwards fell from the Monkey Puzzle tree after accidentally cutting thorough his own safety rope as he attempted to prune the top of the tree.

The self-employed 29 year-old, of Leigh Road, Chandler’s Ford, had been employed by Hampton Tree Care to remove dead wood from the towering evergreen at a home in Winchester Road, Shedfield.

Winchester coroners court heard how Mr Edwards had been working as part of a team of four on the morning of September 18.

The experienced tree surgeon had used a harness and safety rope to climb to the top of the tree where he worked with a chainsaw for about two hours before the accident.

Fellow worker Keiron Standen said that Mr Edwards had set up his own equipment, and had discussed the risks involved beforehand with company director Robert Hampton who was also acted as the team leader.

He added: “Mr Hampton is very safety concious and always updates the equipment to make sure it was in good working order.”

Jamie Hampton, a grounds worker who was part of the team said: “I was looking in the other direction when he fell I heard a short scream, then a thud.”

Robert Hampton quickly called the emergency services and an air ambulance arrived soon afterwards. However, despite the paramedics best efforts Mr Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene.

Health and safety inspector Michael Baxter, who investigated the fatality believed that the evidence suggested that Mr Edwards had slipped while attempting to cut through thick vegetation at the top of the tree and accidentally cut through his safety rope.

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri said Mr Edwards died of internal injuries to his chest and brain.

Detective Clare Hughes who investigated the death said that the police did not suspect foul play.

Senior coroner Grahame Short concluded that Mr Edwards death was the result of a “tragic” accident.

After the inquest his father Richard Edwards said: “Daniel was a ray of sunshine who could light up a room. He had previously quit his office job with the support of his wife, Joanne to become a tree surgeon. A job he loved. Not many people could say that they looked forward to Monday morning but he did. We are so proud of him and everything he did.”

His widow Joanne Edwards added: “Dan loved his job and was truly content when working up in a tree. He was my soulmate and I will miss him more than any words can say. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been part of his happy and full life”.