A PENARTH woman was killed by a tree branch after leaning out of a train window with inadequate warning signs, a report has found.

Bethan Roper, 28, died on the Great Western Railway train near Twerton, Bath on December 1.

Her head was out of the window of a door when it was struck by a tree branch lying on a chain link fence, while the train travelled at 75mph.

The incident happened at 10.04pm and she was pronounced dead at Bristol Temple Meads station shortly after 10.10pm.

The door was fitted with the opening window to enable passengers to access the handle, which was on the outside.

A report by The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the warning sign just above the window was up to industry standards but it had not "adequately conveyed the level of risk".

The investigators also believed the word "caution" on the warning sign implied hanging out the window could be safe if passengers took care.

The sign was also surrounded by much larger signs, and was not an appropriate colour to warn of danger - it being yellow, with red deemed more appropriate for the level of risk.

GWR had carried out risk assessments of these windows after a previous death, with plans to introduce the new enhanced warning signs by May of last year - but they still had not been implemented at the time of Ms Roper's death.

The RAIB also found that the trees along the train route had last been inspected in 2009.

Miss Roper was on board the London Paddington to Exeter service while returning to Penarth, South Wales from a Christmas shopping trip with friends.

Miss Roper worked for the Welsh Refugee Council charity and was chairman of Young Socialists Cardiff.

Her father Adrian Roper, 63, said in a statement after her death: "She was beautiful in every way. Our pain couldn't be sharper or more justified, but I know that her goodness and fullness of spirit will live on in our hearts and actions."

“She enjoyed life to the full whilst working tirelessly for a better world.

"She was also a much loved sister, daughter, grand-daughter and niece.

“All of us who knew Bethan have been very privileged."