Gran died on level crossing trying to save grandson from oncoming train

A grandmother was killed trying to protect her grandson from an oncoming train, an inquest has heard.

Retired nurse Joyce Irene Clark was enjoying the first day of a family holiday at a caravan site in Abergele, in north Wales, with her two grandsons when tragedy struck.

The 67-year-old, of Abbey Hey in Manchester, was walking back from the beach to the caravan park along the Ty Gwyn railway crossing when she was struck by an oncoming train.

One of Ms Clark's grandsons had crossed the line safely.

She appeared to have followed him, but then noticed her other grandson had stayed on the other side, reports North Wales Live.

As the train approached, and despite the driver sounding the horn to warn Ms Clark, she continued to walk back towards her grandson who had not crossed on the other side.

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She was understood to have been gesturing at him to stay where he was as it approached.

An inquest in Ruthin heard today that she did not seem to react or even look towards the train, which was unable to stop in time.

Assistant coroner for North Wales east and central, Joanne Lees, said it was likely Ms Clark had been solely focused on ensuring her grandson stayed in a safe area, away from the railway tracks.

The inquest heard a statement from witness Julie Neil, who heard a young boy shouting for his grandmother to stop as the train approached.

However, she said Ms Clark did not respond and continued to walk across the footpath.

Ms Neil added she then lost sight of Ms Clark.

Speaking at today's inquest, Ms Clark's son Carl Clark described his mother as a selfless woman, who "enjoyed life" and "always put herself second".

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He added: "On the day of the funeral, the entire community were she lived for the last 50 odd years stopped work and lined the streets. That's how popular she was.

"She didn't care about, or have, a lot of money, it was irrelevant to her. Her family and friends were the most important thing to her."

He added the family were "truly devastated" over the tragic accident that killed his mother who "was loved so dearly".

Giving evidence at the inquest, Paul Simmonds, a regional fatality investigator for the British Transport Police (BTP), said the crossing had been under review by National Rail at the time of her death – at around 6pm on July 9 last year – as a result of other fatalities there.

He added following her death, a light system with audio was installed on the crossing to warn pedestrians of approaching trains.

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National Rail bosses have since told the BTP their long term plan is to eventually install a footbridge, instead of the current footpath across the line.

However, Mr Simmonds said he understands it would be a costly upgrade, in the region of £1million, that could take several years.

Ms Lees said she would contact National Rail to encourage them to proceed with the installation of a footbridge as soon as possible.

She added she would also contact Ty Gwyn caravan park to encourage them to consider better highlighting the dangers of the railway crossing around the caravan park.

Offering her "sincere condolences" to the family, Ms Lees recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

She said: "It is clear to me that she was a much loved mother and grandmother, and I am sure she will be very sadly missed."

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