A HORSE lover who's tragic death was due to the actions of potential thieves saved three lives, including that of a baby, by donating her organs.

Tracey Jane Pritchard was a passenger in a car which collided with a horse in pitch darkness after a padlock on the gate to a field had been broken and the gate lifted off its hinges, and inquest into the 48-year-old's death heard.

The well-known member of the horse and pony community, of Applewood Heights, West Felton, near Oswestry, suffered serious head injuries in the collision on February 19 last year.

She died three days later at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

She was a front-seat passenger in a BMW being driven by her friend Kevin Saywell along the A495 at Bronington.

At a hearing in Ruthin 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 and a second horse which was also on the road escaped unhurt.

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 would have been almost impossible to see a dark horse in such an unlit area,” said the report.

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, being a member of Oswestry riding club. She particularly enjoyed carriage driving and attending pony club meetings.

They said: “She lived life to the full and was made constantly proud by her only son, whom she loved and cared for dearly.”

She was an organ donor, and after her death her organs helped save the lives of three other people, including a baby.