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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Man's M4 suicide drive
M4 motorway
Ricky Lee Griffiths caused mayhem as he weaved through traffic

A suicidal driver weaved between traffic for 18 miles on the wrong side of the M4 motorway before crashing and killing himself.

Ricky Lee Griffiths, 26, forced oncoming drivers to swerve out of his way before crashing his stolen Ford Fiesta into two cars and a two lorries on the M4 near Cardiff.

An inquest at Cardiff Coroner's Court heard that Mr Griffiths, drove at speeds in excess of 90mph for around 25 minutes in late-evening darkness, last September.

Mr Griffiths, of Porthcawl, south Wales, had left a suicide note at the home he shared with his wife and mother-in-law saying: "I love you all. Bye x".

Drivers had to take avoiding action by moving over and swerving lanes
Pc Stephen Watts-Morgan

He was being treated for depression at the time of the crash and had taken anti-depression drugs just hours before.

He was also under the influence of alcohol.

Pc Stephen Watts-Morgan told the inquest: "Mr Griffiths had driven for 18 miles the wrong way along the westbound carriageway.

"Drivers had to take avoiding action by moving over and swerving lanes."

Pc Watts-Morgan added that two off-duty policemen tried to drive alongside Mr Griffiths in the eastbound carriageway and persuade him to stop by flashing their headlights.

He said: "At one point, they swerved across to try and get a look at how many people were in the vehicle, and they could see only one person who looked fixed and determined."

He drove along the motorway to end his life. He exhibited morbid intent
Coroner Lawrence Addicott

The inquest heard Mr Griffiths lost control when the three-lane carriageway narrowed into two lanes at Junction 32, at Coryton.

When he reached an unlit section, he hit a BMW head-on as its female driver was attempting to pass a lorry.

Pc Watts-Morgan added: "She was chatting to a passenger and driving at 70mph. Basically, the next thing she saw was headlights in front of her and there was nowhere for her to go."

Injuries

Both women in the car were taken to hospital with serious injuries but survived the crash.

Mr Griffiths' vehicle then crashed into two lorries and another car.

Mr Griffiths - who had been wearing a seatbelt - was cut out of the wreckage but died later in hospital.

A post-mortem examination revealed he was nearly twice the legal alcohol limit and had anti-depression drugs in his blood.

Police investigators later found he had been seen by a friend looking drunk and his speech was slurred on the night of his death.

Suicide verdict

The car he was driving proved to have been stolen several days before from Bridgend.

Cardiff coroner Lawrence Addicott recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing that Mr Griffiths he had previously told his GP he wanted to kill himself.

Dr Addicott said: "Mr Griffiths was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of his death.

"There is evidence of an intent to kill himself.

"He drove along the motorway to end his life. He exhibited morbid intent."




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