AN ELDERLY man who drove the wrong way down the M40, resulting in the death of him and two other people, had brain cancer - which could have caused a 'state of confusion', a coroner has heard today. 

UPDATE - Full story and coroner's conclusion

Three people died in the horrific head-on crash last year, when a car towing a caravan travelled the wrong way down the motorway on Monday, October 15. 

John Norton, 80, from High Wycombe, had been acting strangely in the days before the crash and had been involved in another collision, Oxford Coroner’s Court heard today. 

Dr Moniker Hofer, who provided a brain report, said Mr Norton’s brain was ‘significantly swollen’ and there were lesions on the brain.

Dr Nicholas Hunt, who carried out Mr Norton's post mortem report, confirmed to the court that “lesions on the brain” were likely to be “deposits from primary cancer.”

He added that such deposits “would be able to impair brain function and impair cognitive function to a significant degree.”

READ AGAIN: M40 tragedy - Police give details and name victims 

The court heard how the retired foreign exchange banker, who was divorced, drove for four miles at 60-70 mph down the wrong carriageway before the crash.

His companion Olive Howard, 87, also from High Wycombe, and the driver of a Ford Mondeo, Stuart Richards, 32, from Stockport, also died in the crash, which occurred in the overtaking lane. 

Both cars were thought to be driving at 60 to 70 mph. 

Numerous witnesses described how Mr Norton appeared oblivious to fact that he was driving the Subaru Forester the wrong way for three to four minutes, despite other drivers using their horns and lights in a desperate attempt to avert the tragedy. 

It finally smashed head on into Mr Richards’ car in the outside lane near Tetsworth between junctions 6 and 7.

The carriageway was closed for a total of 14 hours.


- Another 'elderly' driver spotted going the wrong way on M40

- M40 changes after drivers travel wrong way