Missing woman died after being hit by police van searching for her
- Credit: PA
A mother-of-three who was flown to hospital by the Duke of Cambridge on his final shift as an air ambulance pilot died of a brain injury after she was struck by a police van that was searching for her, an inquest has heard.
Helen Loveday, 52, was hit while walking in Wymondham Road, Hethel, Norfolk, at around 10.20pm on July 27 last year.
She died two days later at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, an inquest in Norwich heard.
Norfolk's senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said Ms Loveday, of Market Harborough in Leicestershire, had gone to stay with her sister Rachel Hurn in Wreningham, Norfolk, on July 24.
'During the evening of July 27 Helen became upset and left the property,' Ms Lake said. 'Her sister telephoned the police and told them Helen had run off and there were concerns for her welfare.'
She said police sent units to search the area, and one of the vans struck Ms Loveday.
'I would ask you to bear in mind that the incident occurred in the evening when it was dark,' she said.
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A statement from Ms Hurn, read by the coroner's officer, said that on the evening of July 27 she shared 'about a bottle and a quarter of rose wine' with her sister.
Ms Loveday, who had been married and divorced twice, had health problems affecting her mobility, suffered anxiety and said she had a 'split personality disorder', Ms Hurn said.
Ms Loveday, who lived with her boyfriend Glen Galway and his daughter, said she had been 'bickering about money' with him, the inquest heard.
Ms Hurn added that her sister was 'angry' about a separate phone call with Mr Galway before she left.
'She told me she confronted him about (him) saying I should have made the effort to visit in Market Harborough,' Ms Hurn said.
Ms Loveday said 'something about killing herself, I can't remember the exact words' and then left the house, Ms Hurn said.
Ms Hurn then dialled 999.
Several motorists described seeing a person walking in the unlit road, and driver Michael Broad said he saw a police van ahead of him come 'shuddering to a halt' before the driver got out and put both hands to his head.
Mr Broad said he estimated the van was driving at 55mph shortly before and was 'obviously hurrying somewhere but I didn't consider the driving inappropriate'.
In a statement read by the coroner's officer, Mr Galway said: 'Helen and I loved each other. We never had any rows. If we disagreed about something we would talk it through.
'I think it was the alcohol that led... to her being killed.'
Ms Loveday's son Elliott Morris said he was aware his mother suffered depression and was on medication but that she was in 'control of her life'.
The Duke of Cambridge's East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) crew, based at Cambridge Airport, took Ms Loveday to hospital.
The inquest, listed for five days, continues.