Comedienne Ruby Wax’s sister-in-law was killed after her dog pulled her onto a railway line into the path of an oncoming train, an inquest heard.
Julia Canning, 55, was walking dogs Jazz and Tigger in country fields near her home when she approached a pedestrian crossing over the main London to Penzance line.
Dalmatian Jazz was seen pulling her towards the track while black labrador Tigger tried to drag her back to safety.
The driver applied his emergency brakes but it was too late and the train struck both Mrs Canning and Jazz at nearly 70mph, killing them both instantly.
Mrs Canning, a freelance editor, is the sister of Ruby Wax’s husband Ed Bye and was married to Hon Spencer Canning, the eldest son of the 5th Baron Garvagh.
In a statement read to the inquest, train driver James Domican said: ”As I was driving the train in the area near Fairfield Crossing I came around a right hand bend.
”Just before the crossing in the distance, to my right, I saw a woman with two dogs. She was beginning to cross the crossing at this time.
”I noticed she had two dogs on leads that appeared to be pulling her. She appeared to be pulled along by a dog and was trying to pull back.
”I placed the train’s brakes into full emergency. I did not have time to apply the warning horn on the train.
”The female then appeared to put her head slightly down as if to try to run out of the way of the train. I then lost sight of her and was not sure if the train had struck her.”
The accident happened at 5.25pm on May 6 last year near Mrs Canning’s home in Little Bedwyn, Wilts.
The train which struck her had departed from Newbury, Berks., at 5.08pm and was heading towards nearby Bedwyn station, which was to be the end of the service.
CCTV images from a camera mounted on the top of the train showed Mrs Canning being pulled forward by Jazz across the line – while Tigger appears to be pulling her back towards the footpath.
The inquest in Trowbridge, Wilts., heard that Jazz was ”a constant puller” on the lead.
Train driver Mr Domican said he spotted Mrs Canning and her dogs approximately 400ft down the line and applied the emergency brakes.
But there was not enough space for the train to stop and in the next four to five seconds it had struck both Mrs Canning and Jazz at 69mph.
Once the train had stopped Mr Domican got out and found Mrs Canning’s body, which had been thrown 16ft from the point of collision.
She was later declared dead at the scene by paramedics. The cause of death was multiple head and body injuries.
Tigger survived the accident and managed to find his way back home with his lead still attached.
Recording a verdict of accidental death on Tuesday, a spokesman for the inquest’s jury said: ”On the 6th of May, 2009, whilst walking her dogs Julia Canning came to the crossing at Fairfield.
”Whilst crossing she was struck by an oncoming train sustaining fatal injuries.
”Julia died as a result of an accident.”
Speaking after the inquest her brother, television and film director Ed Bye, said: ”She walked the dogs regularly, almost every day, so it was a big shock to us that she died this way.
”Although she died a year ago she is still very much missed by all her family and friends.
”She was a huge influence in her community and was very well-liked, so it has shaken that community of Little Bedwyn to the core.
”But there’s enough good memories not to make it too bleak.”
Mrs Canning leaves also leaves behind children Cordelia, 25, Florence, 21, and Stratford, 20.
Her husband is a chartered surveyor and consultant development director of Silverstone racing circuit.
Mr Bye added that they had not attended the inquest because the incident was still ”too close”.
The level crossing where Mrs Canning died has since been upgraded with whistle boards to alert those using the pathway to oncoming trains.