A DRUNKEN man suffered multiple catastrophic injuries when he stepped into the road and was crushed by a bus, an inquest heard.

Howard Stalker was struck by a yellow 26 double-decker bus on Great Knollys Street, Reading at around 11.45pm on October 20.

The inquest at Reading Town Hall on Thursday heard how the 51-year-old had been out drinking with a friend and went to a gig at The Face Bar before deciding to find a taxi.

An intoxicated Stalker was 'dragged, rolled and crushed' after hitting the door and falling under the bus, which was being driven by Kevin Pritchard, an experienced driver of more than 10 years.

Stalker, from Clitheroe, was found to be more than two times above the drink-driving limit.

He had been drinking at the Boaters bar in Caversham with his friend Simon Holloway and suggested to carry on walking to find a taxi before the pair were struck by the bus.

Tony Reading, a forensic collision investigator for Thames Valley Police, told the hearing how the streetlight nearest to the crash was 'defective' and would not have helped visibility in the dark conditions.

He said: "It is highly likely that this level of intoxication is a significant factor in the context of this investigation and explains why the pedestrian stepped out into the road while the bus was turning left."

Mr Pritchard had previously received industry awards for being 'accident-free' and was travelling at a low speed as he made his return to the Reading Buses depot at the end of his shift.

A post-mortem found Stalker had suffered extensive injuries to most of his body, including 'massive trauma' to his neck, chest and abdomen, as well as 'unsurvivable injuries' to his chest and legs.

Peter Bedford, senior coroner for Berkshire, added: "It would have been challenging at best in these conditions without the help of street lighting and I make no criticism of Mr Pritchard in relation to these matters.

"There is no history of any incidents at that location in the last five years and this was a route that Mr Pritchard was very familiar with."