A MUM-of-two died after a taxi driver failed to see her fallen in the road because a tree had created a 'pool of darkness', an inquest heard.

Danielle Beresford-Cole died instantly from numerous injuries after being run over outside her home in Sycamore Road, Amersham.

Tests later showed she had been drinking and taking cocaine prior to the accident, which happened at 11.20pm on Monday, February 10.

The 45-year-old divorcee was around two and a half times the legal drink drive limit while the amount of cocaine in her system meant she was "likely to be experiencing the stimulant effects of the drug", a pathologist ruled.

The letting agent was hit by a VW Passat seconds after she fell into the road, the inquest heard, with the driver running her over after failing to see her prone in the road.

Taxi driver Javed Iqbal said: "It was dark and she was wearing dark clothing. I didn't realise there was someone in the road."

And collision investigator Stephen Moffat said: "It's in an area that should be covered by a particular streetlight. Between the point she was run over and that streetlight there was a tree growing from a private garden, which obscured the streetlight.

"The impression I got was there was a pool of darkness, unfortunately slap bang where she was lying when she was run over by the car. This presents a problem for drivers travelling along the road.

"One of these gloomy dark patches can very effectively mask what's contained within it.

"If you consider Danielle was lying across the road wearing dark clothing in a particularly poorly lit section of the road, the driver travelling along that road, in my opinion, is given as little chance as possible to see her."

Scene reconstructions and information gathered from footage taken from CCTV cameras at the front of the property led police to conclude Mr Iqbal was travelling at 30mph when the accident happened.

Mr Moffat said there was a slight defect with one of the taxi's headlights - but said tests showed the only way Mr Iqbal could have seen Miss Beresford-Cole was if he had the full beam lights switched on. He was travelling with the dipped beam on, the inquest heard.

Asked as to how she came to be in the road Mr Moffat said: "The toxicity [report] suggests you have to look at that. She stumbled because she had been drinking and taking drugs."

Coroner Richard Hulett ruled Miss Beresford-Cole died as a result of a road traffic collision.