A BARTENDER from France died after crashing his car near Wallingford following a night out drinking with friends at a beer festival.

Archibald Ballingall, 21, died after his French-registered Peugeot 206 ended up in the brook in Brook Street, Benson, on May 30 last year.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday that Mr Ballingall was not thought to have been wearing his seatbelt and was flung from the vehicle after it collided with a 30mph post and a tree.

Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner was told Mr Ballingall, was in Britain on holiday from his home in Longre, Charente, south-west France, lost control of the Peugeot on a right-hand bend shortly after 2am as he drove back to where he was staying in Ewelme.

Emergency services staff found Mr Ballingall in the brook with one leg beneath the car.

Pathologist Dr Sanjiv Manek said the cause of death was brain injury.

He added that blood tests showed Mr Ballingall was almost twice the legal drink-drive limit.

Thames Valley Police collision investigator Pc Paul Thomas said skid tests indicated that the Peugeot had been travelling between 43mph and 53mph at the time of the crash.

He added that there were no vehicle defects contributing to the accident and the road surface was dry.

Mr Gardiner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and said: “He seems to have been ejected from the vehicle, which tends to suggest he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.”