A BUDDING young entrepreneur was killed instantly when he was hit by a car on the A10 in Hertfordshire, an inquest heard.

Ricky Burlton, 20, was walking home along a dark section of the dual carriageway after a night out with friends when he was struck trying to cross the entrance to a slip road near Hoddesdon.

Deputy Hertfordshire coroner David Pidgeon heard evidence that the motor mechanic, who had recently set up his own 24-hour emergency tyre replacement business, was hit by a Rover 200 and is likely to have died as a result of the crash.

Mr Burlton’s mother Dawn had to leave the room as the inquest at Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court heard evidence from a string of motorists who came across the crash site, at around 2.30am on June 4.

It is believed at least two lorries and a people carrier ran over Mr Burlton’s body as it lay in the unlit road after the initial crash.

Alexander van der Maat, the driver of the people carrier, told the hearing: “I had just started moving off on to the slip road when I suddenly saw what appeared to be a shoe in the road.

“Then there was a long dark object and then a larger object laying sideways across the road.

“I couldn’t stop or swerve and went over the object, and braked sharply because something was not right. I reversed back down the road, taking care to miss the object – that’s when I discovered the body.”

Mr Burlton, of Perry Mead, Enfield, had left his friends in Hertford after a night out and decided to walk to Cheshunt to get a taxi home.

The inquest heard it is likely that he was hit by a car, believed to be a white Rover, being driven by a man known as Georgios Tsoulos, who was spotted by witness Kenneth Adams shortly after the crash with blood streaming down his face. When he returned a few minutes later, Mr Adams spotted him again.

He said: “As I came back on the other side, I saw someone in the car holding the steering wheel shaking, rocking back and forward, like they were annoyed with themselves.”

Mr Tsoulos fled the scene after the crash, which wrecked the front of his car, and was picked up shortly afterwards by a friend and taken to North Middlesex Hospital.

He had suffered extensive injuries to his face in the crash, and officers at the scene found large amounts of blood inside the Rover which stopped more than three-quarters of a mile from where it hit Mr Burlton.

Police tracked Mr Tsoulos to Chase Farm Hospital, where he had been transferred, and he told them with a friend translating: “I felt a bump and had been in an accident. I managed to set the car into the grass, and couldn’t find the car that had hit me, so I phoned a friend who took me to hospital.”

Mr Tsoulos discharged himself from hospital after that and never returned to his rented home in Hertford. A bogus Greek identity card was found in his abandoned car and police have failed to traced him despite repeated public appeals.

He remains on the run, wanted for causing death while driving a vehicle without insurance or a driving licence, but officers admitted at the inquest they do not know where he is or whether he is still in the country.

Concluding the inquest, Mr Pidgeon said: “The driver of the Rover would not have had sufficient time to avoid the collision with Mr Burlton. That evidence I accept.

“This was clearly a terrible coincidence of timing, that Ricky Burlton would be at the same point of the mouth of the slip road at the same time that the Rover was being driven at the same place.”

He added: “Clearly he had a full life ahead of him had it not been for this. He had an entrepreneurial spirit clearly he would have developed and it is extremely sad he lost his life at the age of 20.”