ALCOHOL consumption was an 'overriding factor' in a motorbike crash in Chipping Norton that left two men dead, a collision investigator has said. 

Stephen Witham, 63, was a pillion passenger on the bike driven by Cormac Donnelly, 32, when the latter lost control during a turn on the A44, in the centre of the town, at 3.30pm on September 2. The pair were both pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court today heard that both alcohol and speed were contributing factors to the incident.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Witham’s older brother Bill, who also lives in Chipping Norton, said: “He was a brilliant bloke. He was multi-talented - a bricklayer, a stonemason , a mechanic. He could turn his hand to anything.

“We talked to people in the pub after this happened and so many people said it was such a loss because he’d helped so many people in different ways.”

He conceded, however, that his brother had struggled with alcohol, adding that his most positive attributes only shone through when he was sober.

At today’s inquest, assistant coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said both deaths were the result of a road traffic collision.

Both had been drinking prior to the crash. Mr Donnelly had been above the legal alcohol limit. He also had cocaine and amphetamines in his system. Speed was also a factor, with the bike being spotted overtaking several vehicles prior to the crash.