A young man who died after being struck by two vehicles on the A47 had been reported missing from a mental health hospital 20 miles away, a court has heard.

Lee West suffered multiple traumatic injuries after he was hit by consecutive cars while wandering between two lanes of traffic on the dual carriageway at Witton, near Norwich.

An inquest into his death opened on Friday. The court was told that the 20-year-old was missing from Southern Hill Hospital in Mundesley at the time.

The inquest was then adjourned, while the circumstances surrounding his death can be fully investigated.

Eastern Daily Press:

Following the short hearing, his father, also called Lee West, spoke of his fury that the tragedy had been allowed to happen.

Mr West Snr said his son had been sectioned under section 2 of the Mental Health Act two weeks earlier - but it was not until his death that he learned where his son had been, assuming he had instead been staying with his mother.

Eastern Daily Press:

The 55-year-old said: "The first I knew about him being in hospital was when the police told me he had been in the accident. I had heard nothing from the hospital or any other part of the system.

"He had been sectioned which meant he should have been safeguarded, he should have been secure.

"This should not happen to anybody, full stop. Something has clearly gone drastically wrong."

Mr West Jnr grew up in Colchester in Essex, but had spent a period living in Spain following the breakdown of his parents' marriage - but had returned to the country to live with his father, in Colchester.

He was an avid Arsenal fan who loved deejaying and going to the gym.

He was his father's middle child, leaving an older sister, 21-year-old Anita and younger brother, 16-year-old Luke.

Before his death he was training to follow in his father's footsteps professionally and enjoyed working alongside his father.

Mr West Snr Said: "He was a trainee carpenter and was really loving working with his dad.

"He was such a polite, considerate, sweet person and everybody who came into contact with him would say that very same thing.

"He was so thoughtful and just so special.

"But he did also have emotional struggles which he was trying to work through.

"This should never have happened - I desperately want justice for my son and I am determined to get it."

During the hearing, area coroner Samantha Goward said that Mr West Jnr had been found "walking between lanes one and two of the A47 eastbound carriageway before being struck by a vehicle".

She added that a passenger of the first vehicle began to help him across the road before he was hit by a second vehicle.

Eastern Daily Press: The incident happened on the A47 at Witton, near Brundall Picture: Google Maps

The incident happened shortly before 10pm on Saturday, January 20.

It is not clear at this stage how and when Mr West Jnr absconded from the hospital - or how he came to be on the main road - where he was found on foot.

The hospital, in Mundesley Road, is some 20 miles away from the scene of the crash - in Witton, close to the Postwick hub.

Victoria Hare, hospital director at Southern Hill, said the hospital was unable to comment on the case due to confidentiality and the ongoing inquest process.

She added: "Our thoughts are with Mr West's family in this tragic incident."

A spokesman for the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust said: "Our condolences remain with Lee’s loved ones following their loss. However we are unable to comment further until the inquest concludes."

Following the incident, police closed the carriageway for several hours while investigations were carried out at the scene.

Officers also appealed for any witnesses to contact 101, quoting reference NC-20012024-456.

A full inquest is scheduled to take place in November, which is due to last for nine days.