A woman who fell to her death from a Croydon car park had been diagnosed with depression just weeks before, an inquest heard.

Karlene Wright, 40, fell backwards over the wall of Centrale's multi-storey car park on July 19, 2009.

The mother-of-one was first seen by a shopper sitting on the car park wall just before 11am. In her statement, Olga Pikho said she noticed Mrs Wright after parking on the top level of the Tamworth Road car park.

She said: "I noticed a woman sitting on the wall. She was sitting facing the car park with her back to the outside of the building, she was rocking backwards and forwards, leaning far back so she was hanging over the road.

"She was in a dangerous position and she could fall at any time, so I immediately went inside to alert security. I was inside the building for two or three minutes, but I couldn't find anyone, so I called 999."

Two plain clothes police officers arrived at the car park in an unmarked police car at 11.10am. Croydon Coroners Court heard the officers were about 100 yards away from Mrs Wright and did not approach her in case it caused her to panic.

The court heard in the months leading up to her death Mrs Wright had been prescribed anti-depressants. She had been signed off work after struggling to cope with changes and was also having problems with her teenage daughter, a medical report said.

In a statement read out in court, psychiatrist Dr Seaburne May said Mrs Wright was twice assessed by the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, but on both occasions it was decided she did not have a significant mental illness, but that she had experienced a series of life events quickly and could be helped with counselling.

The inquest continues.