Family hopes Bedfordshire inquest will bring justice for Colette

The inquest into the death of 35-year-old Colette McCulloch will be held at Bedfordshire Coroner’s Court from tomorrow.

It follows on from a long campaign by her parents to have the care of Colette at Pathway House in Wyboston considered as part of the inquest.

Acting senior coroner Ian Pears eventually recused himself from presiding over the inquest after indicting he was only prepared to investigate her death as a road traffic accident.

Colette, who had been diagnosed as high functioning on the autistic spectrum, died at 3am on 28 July 2016 after being hit by a lorry on the A1 at Wyboston.

At the time of her death she was under the care of Pathway House, a residential care home, part of the privately-run Milton Park Therapeutic Campus, on The Lane at Wyboston.

Colette was not diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum until May 2014. She had previously struggled with her mental health and had suffered from anxiety, OCD and anorexia.

She was admitted initially as a voluntary patient to a locked ward on the Milton Park Campus, before being moved to Pathway House in February 2015. She was placed here, out of her local area, by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

During her time at Pathway House she was allowed overnight leave on many occasions, despite becoming distraught and disorientated after leaving the facility and having to be brought back to Pathway House on several occasions by the police and members of the public.

Her family say repeated requests for an assessment under the Mental Health Act were rejected by the local Approved Mental Health Service, run jointly by Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The new coroner Martin Oldham, current assistant coroner in Bedfordshire, has instructed two independent experts to consider the care and treatment Colette received.