TRIBUTES have been paid to a devoted father-of-three who died when a man trying to kill himself hit him when he was driving the wrong way down the M4.

Kirk Butcher’s family revealed they are still in shock over the death of the “larger than life” character last month.

The 45-year-old, from Ebbw Vale, was killed when Thomas Hughes smashed into him head-on as he drove home from work in the early hours of the morning.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Hughes, 23, admitted causing the family man’s death by dangerous driving at 3.30am on Sunday, April 5, near Junction 25A, in Newport.


South Wales Argus:

Kirk Butcher with his wife Janet and three daughters. Picture: Butcher family

The defendant was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van and had come off the A4042 dual carriageway and onto a slip road when he ploughed into the victim at the wheel of a Nissan Micra.

Mr Butcher, who was brought up in Blaina, was happily married to his wife Janet and the couple had three daughters together, Monica, 10, Isabel, 12 and Liela, 13.

Speaking outside the court, his mother Yvonne Butcher, 69, said: “We were so shocked when we heard the terrible news and I sometimes still don’t believe it has happened.”


The victim’s sister Leslie Flower, 30, said: “My brother was such a popular man. He was one of those people who really would do anything for anybody and he was always there for me.

“He always did the best for his family and adored his three daughters.

South Wales Argus:

From left to right, Lindsay Butcher, his partner Kerry Bull, Yvonne Butcher and Leslie Flower. Picture: Iwan Gabe Davies/Newsquest

“Things were going so well for him just before he died. He had just celebrated his birthday and had started a new job.

“He was killed coming home from Tesco in Magor where he had just finished doing the twilight 3pm to 3am shift in the warehouse.”

Mr Butcher’s brother Lindsay Butcher, 41, said: “Kirk was loud and larger than life – he was a real party animal.

“He loved to play music and play it loud. He was into rave music and was a big Bon Jovi fan, which is a bit of a strange mix really.

“Kirk would actually keep a speaker with him in his bag wherever he went.”

The defendant, of St Dials Court, Oak Street, Cwmbran, also admitted failing to stop and his sentence was adjourned until July 17 for a psychiatric report.

South Wales Argus:

Family man Kirk Butcher. Picture: Butcher family

Hughes, who appeared in court via video link from Cardiff Prison, was remanded in custody.

Judge Richard Twomlow said: “This is a very sad case, but the defendant should be aware that the inevitable outcome will be a lengthy prison sentence.”

At an earlier hearing at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, last month, it emerged Hughes had tried to kill himself in the van whilst on the A4042 in Newport near the Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Rob Simpkins, prosecuting, said the defendant told police he was “feeling suicidal” and attempted to crash into a lamppost at 100mph.

The court also heard how just before the fatal crash, Hughes was told by a flatmate he was “no longer welcome” after they had fallen out.