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Inquest hears how Cardiff grandmother was killed trying to save her dog

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A grandmother was killed trying to save her dog when it ran onto a busy motorway from her broken down car, an inquest in Cardiff has heard.

Patricia Connors, 66, dashed onto the rush-hour M4 in a bid to save her runaway pet terrier - but she was hit by a Transit Van.

Mrs Connors had pulled onto the hard shoulder after getting a puncture in her VW Golf.

But the inquest heard her pet terrier escaped from the car when she stopped and opened the door.

The inquest heard she was "focused only on her dog" when she ran out after the pet onto the M4 motorway at rush hour.

She reached the dog after it was hit by two cars - but was then mown down by the van as she tended the tended the injured pet.

Van driver Thomas Jobson said he could not avoid Mrs Connors without causing a mass pile-up on the motorway at Cardiff, South Wales.

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All of a sudden I saw the car in front of me swerve to the right-hand side towards the outside lane.

I could then see there was someone or something directly in front of me, so I immediately applied the brakes and tried to swerve to the right to avoid hitting them.

But I had nowhere to go - if I swerved to my right I would have caused a pile up.

I heard a loud thud coming from the front passenger side of the van - it all happened in a split second.

After stopping I got out of the van and could see a white female with blond hair lying on the carriageway.

I realised she must have been trying to retrieve her dog.

– Thomas Jobson, van driver

Mrs Connors' dog was seen jumping from her car before it was hit by two other vehicles.

I collided with the dog in the inside lane - I could not avoid it.

Just before the dog was hit by the second car, the lady was on the inside lane as if she was trying to catch the dog.

She kept going and had her right hand in the air as if she was trying to stop the traffic.

She wasn't looking at the traffic - she was focused only on the dog.

The white van hit her as she was bending down by the dog.

– Sarah Jones, driver

She was pronounced dead at the scene and the dog also died.

Cardiff Coroner's Court heard Mrs Connors, of Rumney, Cardiff, was struck on the M4 motorway near Cardiff Gate Services.

Paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after 6.15pm on April 7 but pronounced Mrs Connors dead.

PC Kyle Smith said a nail was later found in one of the tyres of Mrs Connors' car causing a puncture.

Mrs Connors' cause of death was registered as multiple traumatic injuries following a road traffic collision.

Coroner Phillip Spinney recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

It is difficult to imagine the stress that Mrs Connors must have been feeling as she witnessed her dog go into the carriageway.

In a heightened state of distress her focus was not on the traffic and her own safety but on recovering her dog.

– Phillip Spinney, coroner