Woman killed after being 'pulled on to railway line'

A mother who died after being hit by a train at a level crossing did so after she was dragged back on to the tracks by her boyfriend seconds after another man had pulled her to safety, a court heard yesterday.

Kelly Mack, 29, and Darren Palmer, 39, the father of her two children, were at Hythe station in Colchester, Essex, on 27 March last year, when Mr Palmer crossed the tracks. Ms Mack followed him but one of her boots caught in the tracks. Jonathan Freer-Smith, 18, rushed to help Ms Mack and took her back to the original platform. Mr Palmer then became angry that his girlfriend had not followed him and crossed the tracks to fetch Ms Mack. But while they were crossing, a train sped through the station, killing Ms Mack.

David Etherington QC, for the prosecution at Chelmsford Crown Court, said Mr Palmer, 39, had "complete disregard of the obvious danger" in which he placed his girlfriend and said his actions were "selfish and incredibly dangerous". A toxicology report showed that she was three times the legal drink-drive limit and had taken a cocktail of drugs,

including methadone, on that day. Mr Palmer was "probably intoxicated," Mr Etherington said.

Mr Palmer denies manslaughter. The trial continues.