A rambler who plunged into depression after her husband’s stroke ‘vanished’ before her body was discovered at a Peak District beauty spot, an inquest heard.
Keen walker Pamela Bailey is thought to have left the Hawthorne Ward at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital using door security codes on the last night she was seen.
The 68-year-old went out into the snow dressed in her outdoors clothes on March 23 last year – six days before her body was found at the side of Ladybower Brook.
Police organising the search for the Millhouses woman told the inquest it was impossible to retrace her steps during her disappearance.
Det Con Ian Rawlings said: “Officers kept watch on her home address and we know she did not go back there. There were no confirmed sightings.
“CCTV footage of her leaving the hospital and walking towards Hillsborough is the last seen of her. She literally vanished.”
The inquest, at the Medico Legal Centre, was told Mrs Bailey had been diagnosed with depression in September 2012.
She told her GP she had been under considerable financial stress since her husband Neil suffered a stroke.
Community mental health teams stepped in after she became withdrawn and stopped eating.
Mrs Bailey was then sectioned and admitted to the Hawthorne Ward.
Despite Neil’s eventual death in January last year Mrs Bailey appeared to be making some progress. In the week before her death a friend reported a ‘transformation’ in her character.
Kathleen Little, who was friends with the Baileys for 25 years, said: “She was the Pam I used to know before her illness. Her face was rejuvenated.”
On March 21 Mrs Bailey was granted leave to spend her first night at home since being sectioned, but she was readmitted when police found her walking along a dual carriageway in Derby.
The inquest continues.