A Southampton grandfather who had gone out for a walk for a computer screen break died after being struck by a Maserati sports car which mounted the pavement, it was revealed today.

Laurie Griffiths had gone out for a walk to clear his head after working hard at his computer at his home.

But the 55-year-old freelance computer programmer was knocked down by the blue Maserati Coup which mounted the pavement in Bassett Avenue, Southampton.

Today tributes were paid to father-of-four Mr Griffiths, who lived in nearby Bassett Row and was described as having a brilliant mind.

His widow, Alison, said: "He was a good man and very bright."

He was a devoted dad to Katherine, 33, John, 31, Patrick, 27 and Rachel, 22, who had all gone through university.

Describing the tragedy as a freak accident, Mrs Griffiths said: "He had been working in front of his computer during the day. He must have gone out for a walk to get some fresh air and clear his head."

Although Mr Griffiths, who came from the Bristol area, spent a lot of time at his computer he was aware of the importance of keeping fit. He enjoyed walking and cycling and was a keen sailor.

He graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class honours degree in theoretical physics. Before becoming a freelance computer programmer he worked for IBM, Sony and Microsoft.

Two years ago Mr Griffiths fulfilled his ambition by being one of a crew who sailed across the Atlantic.

He was a keen musician and played a leading role in the Spike Island Band - a Southampton- based barn dance group.

Mr Griffiths' death has stunned the closely- knit Bassett Row community. Summing up their feelings, next-door neighbour Philip Butcher said: "He was such a popular person in this little community. He was an outgoing and kind person and so full of humour and always so interesting."

Eastleigh traffic police are renewing their appeal for information about the accident, which happened in Bassett Avenue just north of the junction with Ridgemount Avenue at about 4.50pm on Saturday.

Mr Griffiths was knocked down by a blue Maserati which was travelling north between Winchester Road and the Chilworth roundabout.

Police are particularly keen to hear from the occupants of a green people-carrier which was travelling south and the occupants of a Smart car travelling north at the time of the incident.

The driver of the Maserati, a man in his 50s, and his woman passenger, also in her 50s, were detained at the scene but have now been released pending further inquiries. Both are from Southampton.