A PEDESTRIAN walking on the M61 was hit and killed by a car just minutes after he had been reported to police by a concerned motorist.

An inquest heard 30-year-old Gary Wood had been out with friends in Manchester on the evening 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.

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.

Coroner Alan Walsh was told Mr Tung dropped his passenger off at the northbound Rivington Services where he unsuccessfully 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 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 told the hearing in Bolton: “I was worried as soon as I saw him.”

When she did not pass a broken down car she stopped at the services and rang 999.

The inquest was told that within six minutes of making the call, police were dispatched to the scene and the motorway matrix signs were illuminated to warn drivers.

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

Driver Philip Butler told the coroner 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.

“Basically he was just stood in front of me,” said Mr Butler, adding that 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 said: “The catalogue of tragic circumstances leading to Gary’s death could not have been foreseen.”

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

“It was just a tragic accident,” said his mother, Christine Fielding, adding that Mr Wood, who had been due to go to her house the next day for Mothers Day, was ‘the best son you could have’.