Mother-of-one dies after driving wrong way down M4 motorway
A motorist has died after performing a U-turn to drive the wrong way down a busy motorway. An inquest heard that Anouska Paterson, 42, was on her way to a party before making the fatal manoeuvre.
Bank worker Paterson pulled her Audi A3 onto the hard shoulder between junctions 16 and 17 of the M4 motorway. She then turned her car around and began driving down the road – in the wrong direction of the fast lane.
She hit several oncoming cars, but shortly afterwards suffered a head-on collision with an Audi A4 in the dark. She died at the scene.
Pathology and toxicology reports suggested her poor reactions and judgement were due to an excess of alcohol. Paterson was found to be three times over the legal drink-drive limit.
A spokesman for Wiltshire Coroners said: "Some of her movements remain unknown.
"She was travelling from a campsite and was heading to a party in Cheltenham. She went to the services on the M4 and then she started leaving. At some stage between junction 16 and 17 she pulled up on the hard shoulder. She did a U-turn and started driving in the wrong direction of the outside lane.
"It is a dark stretch of the motorway and cars would have had her headlights in their eyes. They were unable to avoid the inevitable collision."
At the time of the incident in August 2017, tributes poured in for the "bright and bubbly" Paterson, who worked at the Barnwood Branch of the Cheltenham & Gloucester (C&G) bank.