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US mother killed by stone gargoyle falling off church

A WOMAN has been killed by a falling stone gargoyle as she walked along the street in a freak accident in the US.

Sarah Bean, 34, died almost instantly when she was hit on the head as she walked past the Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago on Thursday.

A piece of metal is thought to have come loose from the building, which is more than 100 years old, and knocked a chunk of stone from the statue.

Ms Bean had been on the way to lunch with her fiancé, Lance Johnson, around noon before starting work at a local children's hospital.

Her family told the Chicago Tribune the couple had been together for years and after having their two children, recently decided to marry.

"She was a beautiful person," her older brother, Michael Willis, said.

"This is not good. This is not something you expect, at all."

The church, built in 1874, reportedly failed a string of health and safety inspections between 2007 and 2011, when inspectors had noted fractures and holes in stonework, but passed tests in the last two years.

Police and city officials were continuing their investigation on Saturday after construction workers were seen securing parts of the structure and protective scaffolding was installed around the building.

Reverend David Neff, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, sent his "heartfelt sympathy and continual prayers" for Ms Bean's family and friends.



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