POLICE today faced heavy criticism during the trial into Bexleyheath murder suspect Nicola Edgington.

The 32-year-old is accused of murdering Sally Hodkin, 58, with a stolen meat cleaver moments after attempting to kill 22-year-old Kerry Clark on the morning of October 10, 2011.

The unemployed mental health patient, who has a previous conviction for killing her own mum, was driven from Greenwich Express Cars in Woolwich Road to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by two police officers hours before the stabbings, the Old Bailey heard.

She had been brought there after failing to pay a taxi fare to QEH before claiming she needed to be sectioned, the court was told.

Emergency services were called at around 4.15am with PC Dan Phillips and PC Matthew Payne responding in a patrol car.

Before and after dropping off the agitated Edgington at QEH so she could "get some sleep", the officers made no check on her through the police national computer, the jury heard.

Defending, John Cooper QC said: "It would have shown that she had recently come out of care for killing her mother.

"Would you not have thought that perhaps this woman needs to be taken into mental health care immediately?"

Witness Mr Phillips responded: "Her behaviour as she presented herself to me at the time lead me to believe that I did not have any powers to detain her or sit with her at the hospital."

Mr Cooper added: "Why didn't you do any further checks on this woman given what you knew about her?"

Mr Phillips replied: "I honestly can't answer that question.

"I honestly don't know why that was not done."

The officers left Edgington at A&E despite her chasing after them and begging not to be left alone, the court was told.

The court had previously heard how Edgington walked out of the Oxleas Unit at QEH at 7.05am before taking buses to Bexleyheath and attacking two strangers with knives, murdering Mrs Hodkin.

Edgington was convicted of the 2005 manslaughter of her own mother Marion and spent three years in hospital before moving to sheltered accommodation in Ambedkar House, Flavell Mews, Greenwich in 2009, the jury was previously told.

Edgington denies one charge of murder and one of attempted murder.

The trial continues.