A WOMAN with a long history of mental illness found drowned in a ditch probably tripped while making her way home from hospital, an inquest heard.

Christine Belcher, 42, was being treated for depression at the Warneford Hospital in Headington, Oxford, when she walked out on December 6, 2008.

Her body was found six days later in water in Water Eaton, near Kidlington.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday that the fall could have been caused by her medical problems, which included spina bifida and diabetes.

Mrs Belcher was a Warneford voluntary in-patient.

Ward manager Anthony Warmsley said it had been intended that Mrs Belcher remain in hospital, if necessary by using the Mental Health Act.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.