An ex-teacher with a severe eating disorder took her own life after self-harming "virtually daily" while in care and smuggled hundreds of tablets into her room despite searches, an inquest has heard.

Rebecca Hursey was tormented for years by "constant intrusive thoughts" about foods, fluids and vitamins - and routinely cut herself after eating to get relief from the conviction she was "feeding evil inside her".

The 39-year-old, from Leicester, died after her third overdose attempt in 14 months while on the specialist Avalon Ward at the Springfield psychiatric hospital in Tooting, where she had been an in-patient for five years.

The first-class English and Psychology graduate of Leicester University had also been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, Inner West London Coroner's Court has heard.

Ms Hursey's key worker Adeola Sotonwa told the hearing on Monday that before her death Ms Hursey was upset about her psychiatrist leaving and "really, really struggled" when a meeting about her future care was postponed.

Asked by coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox if anything could have been done differently on the specialist eating disorder ward over the five years, an emotional Ms Sotonwa said: "I can't think of anything because we all tried our best.

"We have done all we could to treat her."

She added: "With the complexity... She kept saying that she can't go on, that she wanted to die."

Severely anaemic Ms Hursey had been detained under the Mental Health Act in 2016 after aspirin tablets were found in her room.

The coroner asked: "What about blades? My understanding is that she was cutting ... virtually daily?"

Ms Sotonwa said staff would watch her when she needed to shave, but Ms Hursey would somehow still manage to consistently acquire and hide razors.

The mental health nurse of over 10 years' experience also said Ms Hursey stashed aspirin pills inside teddy bears and in her bags, while the court previously heard she had used secret pockets inside her bra.

Ms Sotonwa said she was searched whenever she came back from off-ward by checking her pockets and frisking, but agreed with the coroner a "determined person" would be able to smuggle tablets in.

The hearing was told that by the end of 2017, some 12 different services, nine specialising in personality disorders and three in eating disorders, had declined to take Ms Hursey into their care from Avalon.

Mental health worker Jacqueline Hanratty said the reasons given were chiefly "concern around the complexity and emergency access to a general hospital".

Ms Hursey's father Michael Hursey has said he and his wife Ruth grew to feel "completely abandoned" by Avalon staff, saying the ward wanted to move his daughter on.

The parents said they "really believe" the cancelled care meeting days before their daughter's death "was the final straw for Rebecca".

Ruth Hursey said her daughter was a devoted church-goer, a "talented artist"and a "wonderful teacher" who had "battled for many years with a serious atypical eating disorder as well as depression.

Ms Hursey died in the early hours of May 4 last year after suffering cardiac arrest at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London.

She had been found unwell on the morning of May 3 at Avalon, a ward specialising in treating eating disorders.

The cause of death was given as multiple organ failure and salicylate (aspirin) poisoning, according to a post-mortem examination carried out by Dr Adam Coumbe.