A retired radiologist who became well-known around Gerrards Cross as the “litter lady” because she would tirelessly clear up rubbish in the street died after being hit by a car just yards from her home, an inquest has heard.

Dr Rosemary Jane Chambers – who was known as Jane – suffered horrific injuries when she was hit by a Renault Clio as she crossed the road on the evening of February 20 this year and later died in hospital.

Dr Chambers, 83, had been out that evening clearing up litter in the street and appeared to be returning home to Bulstrode Court, along the A40 Oxford Road, when she was hit at around 6.20pm.

She had been attempting to cross the A40 – with litter-picker and carrier bag in hand - just before the traffic light-controlled junction with Packhorse Road and Windsor Road when she was hit.

The former radiologist suffered a number of serious injuries, including a fractured skull and ribs, and was rushed to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where she sadly passed away.

The driver who hit her, Naila Mezoui, has been left so traumatised by Dr Chambers’ death that she has felt unable to get behind the wheel of a car since it happened.

In a statement read out at Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, Ms Mezoui said she was “so devastated” by what had happened, adding: “I think about her and her family every day. I feel so upset by what happened.”

The court heard Dr Chambers was dressed head to toe in dark clothing – and Ms Mezoui, who was approaching the traffic lights heading in the direction of Denham, said she did not see her as she crossed the road in the dark until she was around a metre away.

Although she tried to swerve round Dr Chambers, she hit her before the car careered into the kerb on the opposite side of the road.

Ms Mezoui had been planning to turn right into Windsor Road and was making her way into the right-turn lane when the crash happened. She estimated that she was travelling less than 40mph – the speed limit on the road – at the time.

Earlier that evening, Andrew Jenkins, who had been working in Gerrards Cross and had parked up in Station Road to carry out some errands, said he had a conversation with Dr Chambers and suggested she should get a hi-vis jacket.

In a statement read out at the inquest, he said: “Over the last two years I have seen her clearing litter in the town. She was well-known by people in Gerrards Cross. At around 5.45pm I returned to my car after running some errands and she was by my car. She was picking up litter and I said some words to the effect of ‘you are doing a grand job’. She said thank you.

“She looked very vulnerable in the road in the dark. I don’t remember what she was wearing that evening but I know it was dark clothing. I said ‘you should be careful in your dark clothes’ and that we would need to get her a bright jacket.

“The next day I got a message saying the litter lady had been run over.”

PC Adrian White, collision investigator at Thames Valley Police, carried out a thorough investigation into how the crash happened.

He said the road was in a good condition, there were no defects with the car and the weather was fair, although it was dark.

When Dr Chambers had stopped near the side of the road to cross over, she had been standing in a “pool of darkness” caused by large mature trees on the common.

CCTV from Bulstrode Court also aided the investigation and showed that Dr Chambers had stood at the side of the road for around 20 seconds before stepping out to cross.

It is still a mystery whether or not she had seen Ms Mezoui’s car approaching or thought she had enough time to cross.

Senior coroner Crispin Butler ruled that Dr Chambers had died as a result of a road traffic collision.