A Swindon man was killed after wandering onto the M4 while trying hitch-hike his way home after a birthday party.

Robert Tomasz Blaszczyk took the bus back from a relative’s celebration in Calne on Saturday, December 9, 2023.

An inquest held at Swindon and Wiltshire Coroners Court on Friday heard that before arriving at his Walcot address, the 54-year-old walked into the road on the Junction 16 roundabout, approached at least two cars, spoke to the drivers, and then went away from the vehicles.

A statement from his brother explained that alcohol could be smelt on his breath when he arrived at the party around 4pm but he did not drink anything, enjoyed food and cake, and appeared to be “in a good mood, happy and joking about” during the 40 minutes he was there.

Robert made plans to meet up with his loved ones again before Christmas then headed to a nearby bus stop to catch the number 55.

His brother wrote: “Since the accident, I have been thinking why he would have got off the bus at Royal Wootton Bassett and can only think he may not have had enough money for a ticket.

“He would never hitch-hike.”

A car passenger spotted Mr Blaszczyk wearing dark clothing, a backpack, and headphones in the left-hand lane to Wroughton, then the driver honked the horn to get his attention.

The passenger wrote: “He did not appear drunk but did not look right. The man came up to my passenger window and I felt frightened as he looked crazed.”

The passenger asked the driver to drive away and then called 999. A taxi driver then spotted Mr Blaszczyk while moving onto the M4 slip road towards Junction 15.

He said: “A man was walking in the middle of the left lane I was in. He had his right hand out as if he was thumbing a lift, hitch-hiking.

"I can remember thinking the man had a death wish as a sensible person would not have been doing what he was doing.”

The driver of an Audi A4 hit Mr Blaszczyk, who was standing in the middle lane of the M4 eastbound carriageway, then pulled over, put hazard lights on, and called the police.

Unsuccessful attempts to stop the busy flow of traffic meant other vehicles hit him before police arrived and closed off the area. Paramedics pronounced Mr Blaszczyk dead at 7.15pm.

Evidence from his medical records indicated that he had an alcohol dependency issue. A toxicology report showed that his blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit and he had some THC in his system.

The hearing heard that this would have clouded his decision-making capabilities.

A family member explained that his behaviour was “not typical” as “he always knew where to leave the bus” even after consuming alcohol.

Ian Singleton, area coroner for Swindon and Wiltshire, concluded that Mr Blaszczyk died due to multiple traumatic injuries in a road traffic collision, and expressed his condolences to the family for this “terrible, terrible situation”.

He added: “Robert was seen walking in the carriageway on the roundabout above Junction 16 of the M4 motorway having consumed, at some point, a quantity of alcohol.

“Robert… more likely than not entered onto the M4 motorway for reasons that remain unclear, where he was struck by a vehicle while standing upright before being knocked to the ground where his body was struck by a number of vehicles, causing extensive injuries.

“Given that Robert was wearing dark clothing at an unlit location where motorists would not expect to see pedestrians, it is unlikely that any of the motorists whose vehicles struck Robert would have had an awareness of his presence.”