Shropshire woman, 48, died after car she was a passenger in hit a horse
A Shropshire horse-lover died due to the actions of potential horse thieves, after the car she was a passenger in hit a horse in the road, an inquest heard.
Tracey Jane Pritchard, 48, from Applewood Heights, Weston Rhyn, was a passenger in a car which collided with a horse in pitch darkness near Bronington after a padlock on the gate to a field had been broken and the gate lifted off its hinges.
Horse thieves are thought to have been trying to steal the animals.
The accident happened on February 19 last year.
An inquest in Ruthin yesterday was told that she had been a front-seat passenger in a BMW being driven by her friend Kevin Saywell along the A495 at Bronington.
David Pojur, assistant coroner for North Wales East and Central, read a statement from Mr Saywell in which he said he remembered seeing a brown horse in front of him but had no idea where it had come from.
The front nearside of the BMW hit the horse, which was killed, and then hit the offside of an oncoming Daihatsu driven by Samuel Minshull.
Mr Saywell suffered minor injuries. A second horse which was also on the road escaped unhurt.
Ms Pritchard suffered serious head injuries in the collision on February 19 last year and died three days later at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
The owner of the animals, farmer David Thomas, told police that he found the padlock had been cut and the gate lifted off its hinges, obviously with the intention of stealing them.
He said the gate was seldom used and the horses never left the field that way.
A police collision investigation found no defects on the BMW and no evidence that it had been speeding. It said it would have been almost impossible to see a dark horse in such an unlit area.
Recording a conclusion of death in a road traffic collision, Mr Pojur said: “What is clear is that the lock had been cut and the gate removed It would have been unforeseen territory for the animals, too.”
Ms Pritchard ran her own domestic cleaning business in the West Felton and Oswestry area.
In a statement issued after her death her family said she was well-known in the local horse community.
She was a member of Oswestry Riding Club and enjoyed carriage driving and attending pony club meetings.
“She lived life to the full and was made constantly proud by her only son, whom she loved and cared for dearly,” the tribute said.
The family said Ms Pritchard was an organ donor, and after her death her organs helped save the lives of three other people, including a baby.
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