Mum describes how a tree fell on her son as her ex-partner was being tried for manslaughter

The mother of a seven-year-old boy killed in a tree felling operation in Tasmania has told a manslaughter trial how she tried to protect her three children as they sat in a ute.

Sierra Lynd was on a logging and gathering trip in August 2015 with her son Akria, her two younger children and her ex-partner Joshua George Hector Clark.

Clark, who has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, is accused of failing to take proper precautions when felling a tree with a chainsaw.

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The felled tree crushed a ute in Tasmania. Recognition: ABC

Lynd said she was sitting in the passenger seat of the ute with the children in the back seat on a secluded track when she saw a tree fall on her.

“I heard (Clark) say get the shit out of the car,” she told the Tasmanian Supreme Court in Hobart on Monday.

The court was told that Akira was hit in the head by the tree after he got out of the car and suffered fractured skulls.

He was flown to the hospital in a helicopter and died the next day after his life support was turned off.

Lynd said she threw a younger boy from a car seat onto the back of the ute when the tree fell, while a girl managed to get out of the car but suffered a broken collarbone.

“I picked up (Akira) and ran to the back of the (ute) tray,” she said, describing the moments after he was hit.

She said Clark felled a “green tree” but would normally fell dead trees.

Crown prosecutor Heather Denton said the jury would hear from a forestry expert and former WorkSafe Tasmania inspector who would say the ute was parked in the “drop zone.”

Denton said Clark neglected to cut a wedge in the tree, had no control over which direction he fell, and should not have cut down a tree supporting another.

Denton said the area is a timber production zone and Clark does not have permission to cut trees or collect firewood.

Lynd said she regularly went chopping wood with Clark and agreed that he was always very careful. She said she stayed in the car with her children on the day in question because it was cold.

“They ate their chips. We talked about what we would do when we got home,” she said.

The court was told that Lynd and Clark both called emergency services, with Lynd saying it took them “quite a long time” to arrive.

“As I was about to get on the chopper,[Clark]told me to make sure I told the cops it was a freaking accident,” she said.

Clark told police at the scene he saw a large tree resting on top of another tree and felled it because he believed it was in a dangerous position near the road, the court was told.

The tree that compressed the Ute’s roof to the level of its rear seats was 100 feet (32 meters) long and the cut section was 70 feet (22 meters) long, Denton said.

The process is expected to take four days.

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James Brien

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