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A vet drowned in her car with her two dogs after becoming stuck in a ford on the way to a 30th birthday celebration, an inquest has heard.

Heike Mojay-Sinclare called 999 at 21:36 GMT on 8 December 2018 to say she was submerged up to her waist in her car in Doles Lane in Derbyshire.

Five minutes later, the 29-year-old told the call operator the water was up to her chest before the call ended.

Her husband Chester said "her presence felt like a warm glow in our lives".

'I am sinking'
Derby Coroner's Court heard Mrs Mojay-Sinclare left her home in Hertfordshire at 19:25 and it was estimated she would arrive at a cottage for a weekend birthday celebration with her friends by 22:00.

When she called emergency services, she told the call handler she could not get out of the black Honda Civic, could not see, and told the operator "I am sinking".

She said she was unsure exactly where she was but knew she was near Ashbourne, so the fire service visited three fords they knew in the area but could not see a car in any of them.

After working out which ford she must be in, a fire station manager who attended the scene said they "decided to commit crews into the water", where the conditions were described as "fast flowing".

He said: "Crews were up to their shoulders in water and with wading poles searched from bank right to bank left and did not pick up anything."

Police and fire teams searched for hours, the inquest heard, and after the water level had dropped by about half a metre, a member of a water rescue team felt a car underfoot at about 05:43 the next morning.

The inquest heard how "the car had dropped into a hole" and was found in a "deeper part" of the water.

"The poles would have missed the roof as it had dropped below the river bottom it was traversing," the station manager said.

A pathologist found Mrs Mojay-Sinclare's cause of death to be drowning.

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The court heard the police, residents and the parish council all said a number of others had become stuck there in the past.

The road where Mrs Mojay-Sinclare died is now closed, and the only people who have access are those who own land on the lane, the inquest heard.

Paying tribute to her, her husband Chester said in a statement: "Her presence felt like a warm glow in our lives and although she is no longer with us, she remains an inspiration for many of us today."

The inquest is due to conclude on Friday.

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