A teenager tragically died after swerving her car to avoid a pheasant crossing the road, a packed inquest heard.

Casey Leigh Sowerby died at the scene of the collision on the A66 at Marron Bridge, in Workington, on October 9.

The 19-year-old was driving from her Workington home to university in Carlisle where she was studying to become a mental health nurse.

Miss Sowerby lost control of her Citroen C3 while trying to avoid the bird and her vehicle skidded across the carriageway, colliding with a Citroen Berlingo van.

PC Craig Irving, of Cumbria Police’s collision investigation unit, said the car had started to rotate after Miss Sowerby had steered harshly, initially to the right and then to the left.

He said she would have found it difficult to keep control of the vehicle.

Several witnesses had reported seeing a pheasant cross the road immediately before the collision.

PC Irving said Miss Sowerby, who had passed her driving test in January 2018, was a "relatively new, inexperienced driver" and this may have been a factor.

He added it would have been "instinctive" to swerve and it was likely Miss Sowerby had overreacted.

PC Irving said he was also satisfied that neither driver would have had significant time to avoid the crash.

A black box fitted on Miss Sowerby's car recorded her speed at 59mph at the time of the collision, on the road which has a 60mph speed limit.

A tribute was read out at Cockermouth Coroners Court, on behalf of Miss Sowerby's mother, Lorraine.

She said her daughter was a "very loving young lady" who was "always bright and cheerful with a great sense of humour".

Miss Sowerby had attended St Gregory's Catholic Primary School and then St Joseph's Catholic High in Workington.

She was "academically gifted" and completed A-levels in psychology, history and geography at Cockermouth School before starting her degree in mental health nursing.

Miss Sowerby began driving as soon as she turned 17 and was a "confident and careful" driver.

She worked part time in McDonalds and "liked nice things". She "loved her make up and clothes".

Miss Sowerby enjoyed socialising with her friends and boyfriend, Matthew. She also "loved sleeping".

A post mortem report revealed Miss Sowerby had suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries.

Coroner Dr Nicholas Shaw said: "I would imagine she died instantly. She would not have known."

In his concluding statement, Dr Shaw said: "It's just a tragic accident and loss of such a young, promising life, all for a pheasant.

"But it's natural instinct when you come across something like that.

"She just lost control of the car. She was doing nothing wrong at all.

"I'm just dreadfully sorry for your loss. Nobody can be held at fault. It was a pure accident.

"You have my deepest sympathy."

He concluded Miss Sowerby died due to a road traffic collision.