A DEER caused a crash on a country road which claimed the life of a Poole mother-of-two, an inquest heard.
Pillion passenger Liz Spender, 47, suffered a ruptured heart when a motorbike being ridden by her ex-husband collided with a car on the B3351 Corfe Castle to Studland Road.
Giving evidence at the Bournemouth hearing, police officer Colin Spender recalled how they had recently rekindled their relationship.
He said: "Although divorced, there was no animosity between us. We saw each other regularly, going out at weekends and dancing."
Following a pub lunch at the Square and Compass on November 4 last year, they walked to the cliff-top.
Fighting back tears, Mr Spender said: "We sat overlooking the sea talking about our future together; whether we would sell our properties and move away from the area.
"The reason we got divorced was because of my job; I got too engrossed in it and didn't give enough attention to my wife."
Mr Spender said he had no memory of the crash between his Honda motorcycle and a car coming in the opposite direction.
"I remember waking up in a great deal of pain; some time later I was informed that Liz had been killed."
His injuries, which included a split liver, fractured wrist, broken collarbone and fractured ribs meant he had been unable to return to work as a dog trainer.
Roderick Cooper was driving to the beach with his wife when they came across the accident scene.
He spoke briefly to the car driver, Robert Neal. "I asked if he was okay. He said he had swerved to miss a deer.
"I accepted that explanation because there are lots of deer on that road."
During two interviews with police, Mr Neal insisted that he had "instinctively swerved" to avoid the animal. No defects were found on either vehicle and a deer track was discovered nearby.
Mr Neal, from Wareham, declined to give evidence. The Crown Prosecution Service has yet to decide whether he will face charges.
Coroner Mr Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict that Mrs Spender from Knowlton Road, Canford Heath, had died as a result of a road accident.