Oxford Uni Professor Dies In Crash

28 December 2017, 13:17

police accident sign

A leading Oxford University history professor who died in a multi-car crash on the M40 has been remembered as "a warm and loyal friend" with a passion for teaching.

Medieval historian and archaeologist Mark Whittow, 60, who had been named as the next provost of Oriel College, died along with a 29 year-old man from Warwickshire after a collision believed to have involved five vehicles on Saturday.

Professor Martin Conway, chairman of Oxford University's History Faculty, said: "The entire Oxford community has been left deeply saddened by Mark's tragic death.

"Mark was an enormous influence on history in Oxford, where his energy and commitment to teaching, research and to the sense of an intellectual community was irrepressible.

"Above all, generations of students, researchers and colleagues knew him as a warm and loyal friend who enriched all our lives. We will miss him enormously."

Thames Valley Police (TVP) believe that five vehicles were involved in the collision and want to get dashcam footage from motorists who were near the scene on the M40 northbound in Oxfordshire between junctions 10 and 11, on Saturday at just before 11.40pm.

A tribute posted by The Bodleian History Faculty Library said: "Desperately sad news of the untimely passing of warm, witty, humane scholar Mark Whittow. The place will be that much sadder and poorer for his loss."

Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History at Oxford, wrote on Twitter: "Heart-breaking news about my best, loveliest & most brilliant friend & colleague who has died over Christmas."

An Oxford University spokesman said Dr Whittow had played a decisive role in the development of a global approach to the study and teaching of the medieval era, which linked Europe to wider networks of trade and knowledge.

Dr Whittow, from Oxfordshire, was a university lecturer in Byzantine Studies, and a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was senior proctor of the university in 2016-17, and lectured in history at Oriel College.

He had been due to take up his new role in August 2018 and his wife Helen, who is a practising QC and Deputy High Court Judge, was set to join him at Oriel, according to a university statement last month which announced his appointment.

A TVP spokesman said one man was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries and three others were treated for minor injuries.

The spokesman said: "We are still appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision and has not yet spoken to officers to please contact us.

"We are specifically appealing to anyone who may have dashcam footage who was travelling in the area at the time of the collision."

Any witnesses are asked to call the 24-hour TVP enquiry centre on 101 quoting URN 1669 (23/12).