A PEDESTRIAN who died after being hit by a car on a busy trunk road had absconded from a mental health hospital, an inquest has heard.

Hazel Nunn, from Watford in Hertfordshire, was struck by a red Seat Ibiza while walking along the A181, near Old Cassop, in County Durham, shortly after 2.30pm on June 1 last year.

Yesterday, an inquest into Miss Nunn’s death resumed at Crook Coroners’ Court, where it was confirmed she suffered traumatic head injuries in the collision.

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The jury heard Miss Nunn, who was head of research and evaluation at the Samaritans, had been detained at Kingsley Green Hospital in Hertfordshire on May 27 for a mental health assessment.

Dr Maite Von Heising, a consultant psychiatrist, said the 36-year-old had presented clear symptoms of persecutory delusions, paranoia and anxiety.

On May 31, Miss Nunn was granted 45 minutes accompanied leave to have a cup of coffee with her mother in the hospital café. It was then she fled the area, spending a night in London before catching a train to Durham the next morning.

After arriving in Durham Station she caught a bus to Shotton Colliery and another bus to Thornley before setting off on foot along the A181.

Many members of Miss Nunn’s family attended the inquest, which continues on Monday. At the time of her death they released a statement expressing their devastation and describing her as a “much-loved member of our family who had a huge passion for life, the outdoors, her family and large circle of friends.”