A Met spokesman said of Mrs McHugh: “It appears she was a driver involved in a dispute with another woman driver.

“She left her vehicle and an incident occurred during which she was injured. Early inquiries indicate that she was carried on the bonnet of the other car and fell and was in collision with a Belisha beacon. The other vehicle drove away.”

Friends and neighbours paid tribute last night to Mrs McHugh, from New Barnet, who had a six-month-old daughter and a five-year-old son with husband John.

Paul Lawrence, landlord of the Lord Kitchener pub, said: “It is such a sad and tragic loss and my condolences go out to everyone.

“She was lovely. A brilliant bubbly person who with two lovely kids.”

Mrs McHugh worked at Luxx Light Technology in High Barnet, as a personal assistant to director George Leonidou.

Mr Leonidou said he and his staff were in shock. “We’re finding it very difficult to function,” he added. “We are lost without her. Absolutely lost. She was a fabulous person. The most conscientious worker I ever had and a friend.”

Friend Margaret Powell said: “She was very bubbly. I’m devastated. I can not believe it. She just didn’t deserve to go the way she was taken, way too soon. She was loved by many.”

The suspect was later released on police bail. A post mortem will be held today.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police incident room on 020 8247 7821 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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