Taxi fall death: Man killed on M4 after row over fare

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Tony Pemberton sustained multiple injuries after falling from a moving taxi on the M4

A man was killed on a motorway after falling from a moving taxi following a row with the driver about the fare, an inquest has heard.

Tony Pemberton, 29, died after being hit by several vehicles on the M4 between Cardiff and his home in Pyle, near Bridgend, on 11 November 2017.

He had broken the taxi's rear passenger window while "thrashing" around in the cab after watching rugby and drinking.

The court heard he could only have left the taxi through the window.

His girlfriend, Sarah Perkins, who was also in the taxi as it travelled at about 60mph (96kpm), said a "red mist" descended on Mr Pemberton and he completely changed after a row began with the driver about how much the trip was costing.

The court heard Mr Pemberton, who died of multiple injuries, had been hitting the vehicle's roof while he argued with the driver over an alleged rise in the agreed fare.

She told the court in Pontypridd: "He was kicking the seats directly behind the driver. He was so angry. I was telling him just to be calm and sit down.

"He kept saying he was just going to walk. He was more angry than drunk.

"At some point I felt cold fresh air inside the taxi. I was trying to hold onto him.

"My grip slipped and he turned towards the back of the taxi and then he was gone. I just couldn't understand where he went."

Several drivers described seeing Mr Pemberton's body in the carriageway following the incident between Pencoed and Sarn.

One motorist, Michael Smith, said conditions were "drizzly and dark" before he hit an object, adding: "We thought it was a bit of wood at the start. Our heads hit the top of the van. Pretty much everyone was going over it."

The court heard police believed the window was likely to have come out in one piece as no glass was found inside the cab. The window was never recovered.

Recording a narrative conclusion, assistant coroner David Regan said: "The only way he could have left the vehicle is through the window.

"I can't answer whether he intended to leave. But I'm clear he didn't understand the consequences of his actions."