A young woman who had collapsed in the roadway was then fatally run over by a motorist on her way to work in Birkenhead.

The 29-year-old victim Kirsty Upton was trapped beneath the Ford Fiesta and dragged along beneath it for 45 metres before the driver Christine Hannah, who thought she had just struck a bag or debris, stopped and found her.

She later said that Kirsty spoke to her saying she could not breathe but passed away almost immediately, said Jonathan Duffy, prosecuting.

Hannah, 57, of Coniston Road, Neston, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court denying causing death by careless driving.

Mr Duffy told the jury that the prosecution alleged that the death of Kirsty was “avoidable” and occurred because the manner of the defendant’s driving fell below the standard expected: “She failed to exercise sufficient care and attention in her driving.”

The court heard the tragedy occurred at about 6.40am, on March 15, last year on Church Road, Tranmere, near St Catherine’s Hospital.

A passing motorist saw her by the bus stop shortly before the accident wearing a dressing gown and pyjamas.

She collapsed not long before Mrs Hannah came upon the scene and was lying in the roadway.

Although it was not known why she had collapsed she had recently been known to suffer from fits, he said.

“Hannah later told people that as she approached she saw her in the roadway but thought what she was seeing was some kind of bag or debris.

“Tragically rather than taking avoiding action such as slowing down until she could see precisely what was in front of her or by deviating from her course to drive around she carried on and drove over the obstruction.”

There was a loud bang and she realised something was wrong and thought her car was obstructed in some way and stopped to check.

After not seeing anything she drove a further six metres before again stopping and discovering Kirsty was trapped underneath, claimed Mr Duffy.

“The prosecution allege that Mrs Hannah saw an obstruction in the roadway and it was her duty as a careful and competent driver to stop or drive around the obstruction and not just to carry on straight through it, at least not until she knew what the obstruction was,” he added.

The case continues