29/11/2012 11:48 GMT | Updated 29/11/2012 11:55 GMT

Homeless Woman Killed In Exeter Storms Named As Michelle Conroy, 21

A woman, who was killed by a falling tree whilst sleeping rough in Exeter city centre, has been named as Michelle Conroy.

The 21-year-old was killed after a spruce tree she was camping under was uprooted by the storms and torrential rain sweeping through south west England earlier this week.

Though she was taken to hospital she was pronounced dead a short while later.

michelle conroy

Michelle Conroy was killed in the storms

There was a delay in confirming her identity as Michelle grew up in foster care and her next of kin live far away from the area, reported the Guardian.

The Rev Canon Anna Norman-Walker, a diocesan missioner at Exeter Cathedral told the Exeter Express and Echo she would often see Michelle at the cafe run for rough sleepers on Friday night.

"Unlike many of our visitors, Michelle wasn't dependant on drugs or alcohol, neither did she have any significant mental health issues, but rather she was a young person who was a lonely soul with a sad, broken childhood who simply couldn't sustain an independent life."

She added: "The street community were her family, friends and support network."

Friends paid tribute to Michelle as in "such a caring, lovely person", with Rachel Smith, who grew up with her in foster care telling the Exeter Express and Echo: "If you had any problems, you could talk to her, she was so sweet. I don't know why it happened to her. It's absolutely devastating."

Exeter has the 5th highest number of rough sleepers and homeless in the UK and while there are drop in centres and a small number of places that open their doors when temperatures hit freezing, there are no overnight drop-in hostels.

Exeter City Council has expressed its sympathy over the incident, saying in a statement:

"The number of homeless people is, unfortunately high in Exeter. The City Council works closely with its partner organisations to ensure that help is available to everybody faced with homelessness.

"If people are concerned about somebody who is sleeping rough they can call our 24 hour helpline on 0800 151 3441."