A woman killed when she walked into traffic on the M1 near Lutterworth had been helped off the motorway by members of the public four days earlier.
A pre-inquest review hearing into the death of Rachael Matheson in the early hours of Thursday, October 4, last year was told that she had also stepped out in front of another car the night before her death.
The 29-year-old mother-of-one, who lived yards from the M1, in Gloster Road, Lutterworth, was pronounced dead after being hit by a van when she walked onto the northbound carriageway near junction 20 at about 3am.
Legally represented at the hearing before assistant coroner for Leicester and South Leicestershire Lydia Brown were Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health care, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Kettering General Hospital and Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership, all of which had contact with Rachel in the days and weeks before her death.
Also represented was the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is conducting an investigation into Leicestershire Police’s dealings with Rachel prior to the tragedy.
The hearing, at Leicester Town Hall, was held to establish the terms of reference for a full inquest into how Rachael met her death and treatment she was receiving leading up to it.
Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Ady Keeble, lead investigator with the serious collisions investigation unit of Leicestershire Police, said the driver of the van which hit Rachael, a Mr Penny, was not facing any charges in connection with the incident.
He added: “We were called to an incident involving a van and a pedestrian on the northbound M1, near Lutteworth, on an unlit section of motorway.
“Because the circumstances involved a fatality, we were deployed to the scene and started an investigation.”
Det Sgt Keeble said that images from a Highways Agency CCTV camera only showed headlights and did not capture the collision, nor show Rachael.
The coroner said:”Mr Penny has admitted he is struggling to come to terms with what has happened.
“He will be dealt with in the same way as a train driver who has the misfortune to hit someone on the tracks.”
She added: “There was an incident on September 30, again on the motorway, when Rachael took herself there and was assisted by members of the public off the slip road and the motorway itself.”
Mrs Brown said that the inquest would hear from a Mr Woodhouse that Rachael had appeared in front of his car at 8.30pm on Wednesday, October 3, the night before her death.
The hearing was also told that a Pc who attended the aftermath of that incident had recorded the encounter with Rachael on her bodycam.
The coroner said that she would be calling neighbours of Rachael’s who had contact with her before her death and who spoke to the emergency services immediately before she died.
She added: “Rachael was diagnosed and being treated for emotional unstable personality disorder. I need to understand her diagnosis and its management.
“I need to see the pattern of her care plans and how they were evolving.
“It remains a concern for me there was multiple knowledge of Rachael’s behaviour becoming more irrational.”
An IOPC representative said the target date for publication of its report into Leicestershire Police was in April.
Mrs Brown said it was hoped the full inquest would be held in June.
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