A man died after being hit by a lorry on the M5 near Burnham-On-Sea just hours after laying flowers in the town where his four-year-old ‘nephew’ had drowned in the sea, an inquest heard this week.

Peter Thurlow, 42, was hitch-hiking along the motorway shortly after a moving memorial to mark what would have been the sixth birthday of Dylan Cecil, who had died in August 2012 after being swept off Burnham’s jetty.

An inquest held in Taunton on Thursday (November 6th) heard that Mr Thurlow had travelled 170 miles from Kettering with his partner and Dylan’s parents on April 29th this year to join the memorial.

Mr Thurlow’s partner, Lisa Hawthorn, was Dylan’s godmother and he was therefore affectionately known as ‘Uncle Pete’ to the youngster’s family.

The inquest hearing was told that Mr Thurlow had been hit by a lorry while hitch-hiking along the northbound M5 in an attempt to get home to his ill father, who was due to undergo a serious operation.

Tim Hayden, deputy coroner for West Somerset, reached a conclusion of accidental death at this week’s inquest.

He had attended Burnham-On-Sea with friends for what was in itself a very sad event, marking the death of a youngster a couple of years previously, the coroner said.

He had been drinking during the day but it was steadily and he was not in a state of complete intoxication, added the coroner.

He added that during the evening Mr Thurlow had become aware of some further bad news from home in relation to his father’s health and he expressed a wish to go home. It was then that he set off with that motive.

Mr Thurlow had been wearing dark clothing and a black backpack when he was last seen walking onto the M5 at junction 22 at Burnham in the direction of Weston. He was struck by a passing Morrisons delivery lorry at around 12.51am.

The lorry driver swerved, but Mr Thurlow was struck by the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries. The coroner said the driver had been driving attentively at the time.