Published: 17:45, 13 January 2020
| Updated: 20:14, 13 January 2020
A distraught teenager fled an inquest in tears after a police officer accidentally revealed a graphic photograph of the scene of her mother's death.
The family of Miss Hood were questioning the detective sergeant about items in her flat when the officer produced a folder in which were photographs of the scene, including of Ms Hood's body, which the relatives saw.
It led to the hearing being adjourned after Ms Hood's 19-year-old daughter Kellis, whose twin Casey died in the crash, screamed out: "I've just seen her body - I deliberately didn't want to see my mum after she died - I didn't want to remember her like that."
Kellis ran out of the room and was followed by family members at the hearing at the Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone today.
The police officer apologised and left.
When the inquest was reconvened, assistant coroner Scott Matthewson said: "The officer was asked about an item in the flat and pulled out a file in front of the family which included a graphic image of the scene.
"I'm extremely sorry for the family - it should not have happened and all I can do is apologise."
Afterwards, Natalie's tearful father Ray Hood said: "We're appalled. It was extremely unprofessional but we have been very disappointed by the police investigation from the start."
The coroner had been told how Ms Hood, 46, was found dead at the flat in Temple Ewell by her mother on the morning of September 16, 2018.
A post-mortem revealed she had taken a fatal dose of heroin and died from morphine toxicity.
It happened just two days after her daughter, care assistant Casey Hood, died in a crash with Lucy Leadbeater, 27, in a country lane near Woolage after a night out in Canterbury.
An inquest earlier in the day revealed that Miss Leadbeater had been followed by a police vehicle. Officers briefly lost sight of her Toyota Yaris before discovering the car on its side in the road.
Inquiries revealed she was over the drink drive limit and uninsured. Neither she or Casey were wearing seatbelts.
At the hearing into Casey's mother's death, a police investigation concluded there had been no third-party involvement in Ms Hood's death in her flat.
She was said to be a long-term drug user but had been making significant progress towards getting clean through the Forward Trust drug counselling service.
Its staff believed she was responding well to treatment.
But the inquest heard that the death of one of her twin daughters in the crash had hit her hard.
Ms Hood was found in the morning by her mother Carol, who had gone to her flat to take food and washing.
In a statement to the hearing, she said: "She was lying on the sofa. Her lips were blue and I could see she was dead.
"I saw a syringe on the sofa and called my husband and the police."
Carol and her husband Ray said previously that although Natalie was “in so much pain” after learning of Casey’s death, they believe she did not mean to take her own life.
In his conclusion, assistant coroner Mr Matthewson said that while he was satisfied Ms Hood had injected herself and there was no third-party involvement, he was far from sure that she had intended suicide.
"She had been showing progress but was unable to cope with the news of her daughter's death and turned to what had got her through difficult times in the past and insulated her, " he said
"But there is no proper evidence to conclude that she intended suicide and I record that this was a drugs-related death."
More by this authorGerry Warren
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