A pedestrian killed in County Durham was hit by a car while lying in the carriageway after a night out, an inquest heard.

Scott Punshon was struck by a red Mercedes A-Class in the early hours of Saturday, August 12, 2023 on the A689 in County Durham between Crook and Howden-le-Wear.

A post-mortem examination carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper found he suffered fatal chest and leg injuries.

Crook Coroners’ Court was told toxicology results show the 36-year-old was under the influence of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine at the time, but it is not known why he was lying in the road. 

The inquest heard the driver of the car left the scene because he initially ‘panicked’, but returned 40 minutes later and told police he had been involved.

He was arrested but tests showed he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the collision occurred.

Investigations showed he had not been speeding and his visibility of the road would have been impaired by shadows caused by trees from the streetlights.

Durham Constabulary said the driver had not been charged with a criminal offence.

Detective Constable Jayne Gatland, from the road collision unit, said: “Early evidence available was gathered. It was all reviewed.

"There was no evidence to suggest there was enough to send for the driver to be charged with any criminal offences.

“He was fully interviewed for his actions that evening. In summary, he panicked.

“He goes home, realises there is damage that must have been from the bump he felt earlier.

“He goes straight back and says ‘I think I have been involved in this so he is handcuffed and arrested.”

The inquest was told Mr Punshon had been on a night out with friends in Crook before he decided to walk home along the road.

CCTV footage from a car park in the town showed him unsteady on his feet shortly after midnight.

In a statement his mother, Janet Armstrong, paid tribute to him.

She said: “He was a wonderful person who will be deeply missed by everyone.”

Coroner Dr Leslie Hamilton recorded the verdict that Mr Punshon died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He said: “It was a tragic incident, devastating for all involved.

“I offer you my sympathies.”