Teenager helped woman moments before her death

A TEENAGER has told a court how he saved a woman whose foot had become stuck on a railway line only for her to be “dragged” out of his arms by her angry boyfriend and hit by a train.

Annie Davidson

A TEENAGER has told a court how he saved a woman whose foot had become stuck on a railway line only for her to be “dragged” out of his arms by her angry boyfriend and hit by a train.

Jonathan Frere-Smith told Chelmsford Crown Court that Darren Palmer was “shouting and swearing” at his partner, Kelly Mack, in the moments leading up to the fatal collision.

The jury has been told that Miss Mack, 29, died on the tracks at Hythe station in Colchester after Palmer allegedly pulled her across “against her will” in an attempt to catch a train home to Clacton.


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Palmer, 39, who is the father of Miss Mack's two children, denies her manslaughter on March 27 last year. The couple lived together in Mendlesham Close, Clacton.

The court heard yesterday that Mr Frere-Smith had initially helped Miss Mack when her moon boot became stuck between wooden slats next to the railway crossing at the Hythe after the safety barriers were down.

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After her foot was free, he claimed Palmer then began shouting and swearing at his partner to come across the tracks so they could catch their intended train.

The 19-year-old told Charles Bott QC, defending, that after Miss Mack was hit by the train he was in state of shock when it is claimed he told an officer from the British Transport Police that it had been “an accident.”

But in court he insisted Palmer had pulled Miss Mack, who had been drinking and taking a cocktail of drugs in the hours leading up to her death, back into the path of the train after he had helped free her foot.

“She was not so intoxicated she would put herself in front of a train. I witnessed him pull her,” Mr Frere-Smith said.

“He came and dragged her on to the Clacton side.”

He said he had not heard Palmer asking him to “please help” Miss Mack, adding: “Why would you say 'help her' if you were there on the track helping her?

“That does not make sense. He wasn't being quite nice that night.

“Pretty much all he did was swear and call her names.”

Mr Frere-Smith agreed he had given an interview to a reporter during which he said: “Nobody wanted to help, nobody wanted to get hit by a train.

“I saw the train coming and I just thought I have got to save her life.”

However he denied adding: “If she hadn't crossed at the last minute she would still be here now.”

Mr Bott asked Mr Frere-Smith if he had slipped on the wet track and lost his grip on Miss Mack, who then staggered into the path of the train.

“Mr Palmer was crouching down trying to pull her to safety from the line on to which she had fallen,” Mr Bott said.

Mr Frere-Smith denied this and added: “No she didn't stagger in front of the train, if she had just staggered in front of the train why would I be here trying to get justice for her life?”

The trial continues today.

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