Casualty star Liz Carling has said that she made the decision to quit the show after the death of a close friend.

Carling, whose character Selena Donovan was shot dead in Saturday’s episode, told the Mirror that the tragedy prompted her to re-assess her life.

“I decided last autumn that I didn’t want to do another year,” she said.

“A very dear friend of mine died suddenly. He was only 40. I am 40 this year. I thought: ‘Do you know what? Life is just passing me by’.”

The actress said it was a “big decision” to quit the show she has starred in for four years. “But I just woke up one morning and thought ‘this isn’t right for me any more’.”

Over the past four years Liz’s character has faced a lot of personal trauma and tragedy – from discovering her husband had been cheating on her to being stricken with MRSA.

More recently she found herself facing life as a single mother after becoming pregnant and splitting up with the father, hospital porter Nathan. However viewers will have to wait until the new series to find out whether her unborn baby survives the shooting.