Julia Canning was exercising dalmatian Jazz – ‘a constant lead puller’ – and black labrador Tigger in fields near her Wiltshire home when she approached a crossing on the London to Penzance line.

The 55-year-old sister-in-law of US comedienne Ruby Wax was struck at around 70mph and died instantly.

‘I saw a woman with two dogs. She was beginning to cross the crossing,’ train driver James Domican told the inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

‘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.’

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 appeared to be pulling her back towards the footpath.

Once the train stopped Mr Domican got out and found Mrs Canning’s body, which had been thrown 5m (16ft) from the collision.

She was later declared dead at the scene by paramedics. The cause of death was multiple head and body injuries. Jazz was also killed instantly.

Tigger survived the accident on May 6, 2009 – and managed to find his way home with his lead still attached.

After the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death on Tuesday, Mrs Canning’s brother – Red Dwarf producer Ed Bye – said her death had shaken her home village of Little Bedwyn ‘to the core’.

‘But there are enough good memories not to make it too bleak,’ he said.

Trains must now sound a whistle at that crossing.

by Agency