Jeremy Irons tells of battle to avoid crash

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Jeremy Irons, the Oscar-winning actor, described yesterday how he fought to avoid a car crash which led to a pensioner's death.

The star told an inquest in Oxford how he swerved hard, then shut his eyes as his Czech-built Umm four-wheel drive vehicle crashed head-on with a Nissan Sunny car at an accident blackspot last September.

His car flipped on to its side beside the B4012 near Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, and Irons, of nearby Watlington, walked away virtually unscathed. The driver of the other vehicle, Richard Belgrove, 79, suffered multiple injuries and died in hospital a month later. His wife Doris, 83, who had been a front-seat passenger, survived.

Mr Irons told the inquest. "I closed my eyes and when I opened them my jeep was on its side." Nicholas Gardiner, the coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death.