MURDER squad police have praised the professionalism of a lorry driver who died following a missile-throwing incident on the M3 at Camberley.

The driver, Michael Little, managed to steer his 45-ton articulated lorry on to the hard shoulder before collapsing at the wheel early last Friday. He worked for Ford and the firm has offered a £25,000 reward for help in gaining the conviction of his killer.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Hill paid tribute to Mr Little's determination to prevent a possible motorway pile-up.

"His actions after the incident were impeccable and demonstrated his professionalism to the end," said DCI Hill, who is leading the murder inquiry.

"But for his brave actions, we could well be conducting a multiple murder inquiry."

Mr Little, 53, of Hornchurch, Essex, was struck in the chest by an object as he passed under the Russet Gardens footbridge near Junction 4.

He was found dead in the cab by a police patrol at 4am last Friday. A post mortem established that he died from a heart attack.

Mr Little, who worked for a haulage company, had a 23-year-old daughter.

Police closed off the London-bound carriageway of the M3 for most of last Friday morning, causing huge rush-hour tailbacks.

The tragedy has confirmed the worst fears of police that missiles being hurled from motorway bridges would eventually lead to a motorist's death.

Judy Williams, Camberley police press officer, said on Monday: "Over the years I have put out regular warnings about the likely consequences of this type of incident."

Many of these warnings, she added, had followed objects being thrown from the Russet Gardens footbridge. Anyone with information which could lead police to Mr Little's killer is asked to contact the incident room on 01483 571212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Officers would like to hear from motorists who saw the incident, any pedestrians who saw the object being dropped from the footbridge, or anyone from the Camberley area who has information about the culprit.