A teenage heroin victim who has been in a coma for eight months is to be transferred to a specialist brain unit next week.

The long-awaited move to Putney Neurological Unit will be the first major step in the rehabilitation of Amy Pickard.

Although she remains unable to communicate, Amy, 17, has remained free from infection during the past two months at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

She has been receiving round-the-clock treatment there since being found slumped unconscious in town centre public toilets last June after injecting heroin.

To compound the tragedy, she was pregnant at the time but lost tiny Summer Louise five days after the baby was born by Caesarean section, something Amy is unaware of.

Mother Thelma Pickard, of Sandown Road, Hastings, said she had been able to take Amy out in a wheelchair for up to three hours a day.

She said: "Amy's doing brilliantly, showing just what a fighter she is.

"It has taken a long time to get to where she has and it's going to be a long time until she can come home with me.

"But she is getting there, slowly but surely."

Auxiliary nurse Mrs Pickard said Amy's treatment is being funded for six months at Putney's profound brain injury unit.

She said: "The staff at the Conquest have been brilliant and have done all they can to help Amy but there has now come a point where she needs more specialist help.

"I have already been to Putney and the staff and facilities seem fantastic, so I know she will be in great hands."

Mrs Pickard has sought to highlight the dangers to young people of heroin, which she said was a serious problem in Hastings and St Leonards.

However, her warnings were not heeded by Amy's boyfriend, Michael Morfee, 22, who returned to the same public toilets where Amy collapsed and took a heroin overdose.

He died at the Conquest Hospital, heartbroken at his girlfriend's condition.