An inquest heard that horrified drivers discovered the body of 60-year-old Diane Wilson in London Road, Phoenix Green, on November 30.

Pedestrian Mrs Wilson, who lived in Southern Haye, Hartley Wintney, died of multiple injuries despite being rushed to the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke.

A post mortem revealed she had drunk more than three times the legal driving limit of alcohol.

A regular at the Phoenix Inn — close to where she was run over — for 22 years, she was in the pub on the afternoon of her death.

She started drinking around 4pm and had several small glasses of red wine.

Mrs Wilson went to leave at about 7pm and asked a barman to call a taxi but there was not one available for an hour so she decided to walk home.

The inquest heard that Odiham resident David Connor drove over Mrs Wilson’s body without realising.

Mr Connor said it was dark and raining so he was not driving his Rover very fast.

“I suddenly felt a bump in the road — it was quite a jolt,” he said. “As it was such an atrocious evening I thought it was debris left in the road so I continued driving.”

Mr Connor said when he got home he inspected his car and found nothing untoward. However, because it was dark he looked at it again in the morning and could still find no sign of damage or cracked glass.

Mr Connor said he went for his usual Sunday afternoon drink in his local pub and mentioned he’d hit something in the road.

One of his friends said he had come back from Reading the night before and was held up in traffic because there had been an accident near Phoenix Green.

“It was then that I thought I might have contributed to it,” said 76-year-old Mr Connor, who drove to Fleet police station the next day and reported the incident.

Mr Connor told the court: “All I can say is that I have held a driving licence for 50 years and in that time I have not committed a traffic offence and have a clean licence.

“I’ve done a million miles in 50 years,” said Mr Connor, who said he regularly travelled about 50,000 miles a year when he worked for Marks & Spencer.

A driver travelling behind Mr Connor said he saw his tail lights bounce smartly up.

“My immediate impression was that the car went into a crater in the road,” he said.

“To have moved that much I thought it must have been a very substantial crater so I slowed smartly.”

The eyewitness said the car in front carried on but did not speed away.

He then saw a body lying in the road and stopped about five metres away from it, leaving his door open to stop other drivers.

“There was no doubt in my mind what caused the car to go up and down when I saw the body in the road,” he said.

A driver travelling behind said she thought how easy it would have been to drive over the body because it was so dark.

Recording an open verdict, coroner Andrew Bradley said: “This has been a difficult inquest because it was such an unusual event.

“It is clear that Diane Wilson enjoyed a drink and there’s no reason she shouldn’t.

“She was drinking in the Phoenix pub and tried to get a taxi but couldn’t so decided to walk home.

“It wasn’t a substantial distance but it was enough.

“The effects of alcohol were clearly showing as she was merry and her speech was slightly slurred.

“She was then run over by Mr Connor but whether she was run over by anyone else we don’t know.

“However, it is clear that she was lying in the road at the time she was run over and wasn’t standing and then struck down.

“I believe that at the time she fell she was alive and the car running over her was what caused her death.

“I do not find anything suspicious about this death but there is a gap in the evidence between the time when Mrs Wilson left the pub and when she was run over by Mr Connor.”