GARY Wood said he did not have enough money to pay his taxi driver to take him all the way home - and minutes later he was dead after being hit by a car while walking on the M61.

Mr Wood - described as "the best son you could have" - was killed just minutes after a concerned motorist saw him on the motorway and called police.

An inquest in Bolton heard how the 30-year-old had been out with friends in Manchester on the night of March 29 after being offered a last-minute ticket to a Tinie Tempah concert.

But Mr Wood, who had been drinking heavily, decided to leave early and got into a taxi, asking driver Michael Tung to take him home to Blackburn, the court heard.

Mr Wood paid him an initial deposit of £20 and said he would pay more later.

But Mr Tung told the court that on the M61, when Mr Tung asked for the rest of the fare, Mr Wood said he had already paid and did not have any more money.

He later bought a can of Red Bull, however.

Coroner Alan Walsh was told how Mr Tung dropped his passenger off at the north bound Rivington Services where he asked a motorist for a lift, but was refused because they were not heading in his direction.

Petrol station cashier Ishak Patel told the court that he gave Mr Wood the telephone number of a taxi firm after becoming concerned he was drunk and without transport.

But Mr Wood, a window fabricator from Begonia View, Lower Darwen, was next seen on the hard shoulder by driver Joanna Slinger as she drove north on the motorway.

She said: ”I was worried as soon as I saw him.”

She became more concerned when she did not pass a broken down car so she stopped at the services at 11.20pm and rang 999.

The inquest was told that within six minutes of making the call police were sent to the scene and the motorway matrix signs were lit up to warn other drivers.

But before help could arrive it is thought that Mr Wood crossed the carriageway onto the southbound side of the unlit motorway and was hit by a Skoda Octavia. He was killed instantly.

Driver Philip Butler told the coroner that he was heading home to Bury with his wife and 17-year-old daughter after seeing a play in Cumbria, and was travelling at between 70 and 80mph.

He said he had no time to avoid a collision.

Recording a conclusion that Mr Wood died as a result of a road traffic collision, Mr Walsh added that he believed the pedestrian was disorientated because of the drink and the dark night and may not have realised the danger he was in.

He said: “The catalogue of tragic circumstances leading to Gary’s death could not have been foreseen."

After the inquest Mr Wood’s family said they did not blame the driver for the collision.

His mother Christine Fielding said: “It was just a tragic accident.”

She said Mr Wood, who had been due to go to her house the next day for Mother’s Day, was “the best son you could have”.