A MAN who had taken amphetamine and abandoned a stolen car on the M40 near Wheatley died by accidental drowning, a coroner has ruled.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter yesterday said that Michael Griffiths, 31, died on or about November 28 last year after leaving a black Range Rover Evoque that had run out of fuel at junction 8a.

But he said they couldn’t be sure how or why Mr Griffiths, a former heroin user from Birmingham, who was released from jail last July, ended up in the nearby River Thame near Wheatley Bridge on London Road.

His body was not discovered until December 24 and was only identified by fingerprints.

At the inquest at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court, Mr Salter said: “What we can’t be certain about is how Michael came to be in the water.”

Traces of amphetamine and a low level of alcohol were found in his blood.