An RAF serviceman who won medals in Iraq and Kuwait died in a motorcycle crash as he was riding to meet fellow bikers, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Payne, 27, who was based at RAF Brize Norton, died following a crash on the B4477 in Minster Lovell at 5.30pm on Monday, August 21 last year.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner today recorded a verdict of accidental death after taking evidence from forensic collision investigator Pc Gary Baldwin.

Mr Payne was travelling with two friends - fellow servicemen Daniel Longmoor, 23, and Steve Muir, 24, both based at RAF Brize Norton - for a meeting with other bikers at Fox's Diner, near Wallingford.

Pc Baldwin concluded that Mr Payne had mistakenly thought he was travelling too fast to take a right-hand bend on the single carriageway road and so stopped leaning into the corner and righted himself.

Pc Baldwin said: "I don't think looking at the damage and the post-impact movement of the bike he was travelling so fast that he was unable to get round the corner, but the rider perceived he was going out of his comfort zone.

"It is a very mental thing taking a corner on a motorcycle and it does not take much to upset the rider. Just looking at the wrong part of the corner can upset you. I think he was travelling well below the maximum speed to take the corner."

Pc Baldwin found marks on a nearby tree and concluded that Mr Payne had struck the tree after coming off the road and skidding along the ground on his bike. He was wearing the correct safety clothing and a helmet. Mr Muir and Mr Longmoor stopped to try to help their friend, but he was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Mr Payne had been in the RAF since 1995, and won medals after tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait.

After the inquest, his father Dennis and mother Karen described their son as a hero and paid tribute to a "friendly, well-loved lad."

Mr Payne said: "He was always interested in war films and made his mind up at school that he was going to join the RAF as it was something he had always wanted to do."

The Ipswich Town fan, who grew up in Suffolk, developed an interest in motorbikes in 2003, partly as a way of meeting new people after getting a divorce.

His father added: "The bike was everything to him. He had been an Alfa Romeo fanatic for some years and we still have two in the garage.

"He had three more years in the RAF and was thinking about his future. He had all sorts of dreams of going abroad. It's just so sad that he has gone. We all miss him a lot."

Following Mr Payne's death, about 50 of his friends from Gixer Junkies bikers got together to complete the journey to Fox's Diner that the junior technician never finished, to raise money for Thames Valley and Chiltern air ambulance.