A man died on the M1 near Northampton after hitching a ride on the back of a lorry cab before falling under its wheels, a coroner heard today (June 28).
The body of Ashley Hayes, 46, from London, was found at around 2:10am on January 10 on the M1 northbound near Whilton, Northamptonshire. Evidence suggests he was hit by multiple vehicles and suffered "catastrophic" injuries.
A post-mortem found cocaine and MDMA in his system and he was last seen by a family friend running away on the motorway after being involved in a car crash near Toddington services, in Bedfordshire.
At his inquest held at Northampton County Hall on June 28, the coroner heard how Ashley had phoned a family friend to come pick him up from the Icon Hotel in Luton at around 1am on January 10.
The friend, Peter White, said in a statement read out by the coroner: "When I picked Ashley up, he seemed smashed. He was very disturbed and kept screaming about how 'they were coming to get him'. We drove off in his car and I reassured many times that there was no one else around.
"He asked me to drive him to Milton Keynes and it was a constant battle all the way there. He just kept shouting that people were coming to kill him, and he tried to get out the car three different times. It was terrifying."
The coroner heard that at around 1am near Toddington services, Ashley had punched Mr White in the head and seized the wheel. They crashed into the central reservation on the M1 northbound.
Mr White last saw Ashley running away along the motorway. He then called the emergency services.
Ashley was killed on the M1 near Whilton about an hour later on an unlit stretch of road.
Police believe at some point he had climbed on the back of a lorry cab at Toddington services. He was driven around 35 miles northbound along the motorway, holding on for around 30 minutes, before he fell and went under the wheels of the trailer.
Following the incident, the northbound carriageway was closed between junction 16 and 18 from 3am until 2pm the next day.
The coroner said it was unlikely the lorry driver would have even known Ashley was on his vehicle.