• Uncategorised

BREAKING NEWS: Owner of truck that killed four-year-old girl as it careered out of control is jailed for seven and a half years for manslaughter as mechanic gets five years

  • Brakes on dilapidated truck failed and it careered down a hill, killing four
  • Crash investigator said the vehicle was the worst he had ever inspected
  • Head of haulage firm and his mechanic were convicted of manslaughter
  • Mother of little girl killed tells how the death has devastated her family

|

22

View
comments

The boss of a haulage firm whose out-of-control tipper truck killed four people has been jailed after the mother of a four-year-old girl who died told of her torment.

Company head Matthew Gordon was today jailed for seven and a half years and banned from being a company director for 12 years.

Mechanic Peter Wood – who passed the truck as safe weeks before the crash – was handed a five-year, three-month sentence.

Little Mitzi Steady was one of four people killed when the 32-tonne Scania lorry careered down a hill in Bath, Somerset last February.

Mitzi’s mother Emmajade told the court today: ‘We are devastated that our bright, lively, beautiful, vibrant, outgoing little girl will never have her first day at school, learn to read, have best friends to giggle and play with… the list is endless.’

Haulage firm boss Matthew Gordon Mechanic Peter Wood

Haulage firm boss Matthew Gordon (left) and his mechanic Peter Wood (right) failed to fix a dilapidated tipper truck which ran out of control and killed four people

Four-year-old Mitzi Steady was killed as she crossed the road with her grandmother. Her mother has told a court of her pain as the men responsible await sentence

Four-year-old Mitzi Steady was killed as she crossed the road with her grandmother.

Her mother has told a court of her pain as the men responsible await sentence

Mrs Steady added: ‘We are bereft and emotionally distraught to be without our child. I still find it difficult to sleep and accept that Mitzi has died. That I can no longer hold her and protect her.

‘That she had to suffer such a sudden, traumatic, senseless death.

That I was not there with her and cannot be with my beautiful girl now.’

Mitzi was holding hands with her grandmother, Margaret Rogers, when she was hit by the lorry, and Mrs Rogers has since needed to have both legs amputated below the knee due to her own injuries.

Mrs Rogers told the court she had a ‘clear memory of the day itself, taking Mitzi on the bus, getting off the bus and going to the pedestrian crossing’ – but no recollection of what hit her.

‘I know that in the immediate aftermath I woke up on the roadside and my concerns were that I couldn’t get up and go to Mitzi,’ she said.

‘I was also anxious about being unable to pick up my other grandchildren who we had been on our way to collect.’

Mrs Rogers said her recollection after that starts 10 days to two weeks later when she woke up in hospital, where she spent three months recovering from injuries including a fractured pelvis, hip, arm, ribs and clavicle.

Mitzi's mother Emmajade (pictured with the youngster's father Andrew, brother Eric and sister Mycha at her funeral) said her daughter had been robbed of her life

Mitzi’s mother Emmajade (pictured with the youngster’s father Andrew, brother Eric and sister Mycha at her funeral) said her daughter had been robbed of her life

The tipper truck, which had faulty brakes, ran out of control on a hill in Bath last February

The tipper truck, which had faulty brakes, ran out of control on a hill in Bath last February

The most serious injury was to Mrs Rogers legs and both had to be amputated below the knee.

Mother’s heartbreaking account of her pain

Mitzi’s mother Emmajade said the family, who live in Bath, were broken-hearted ‘that Mitzi will not get to live her life to the fullest’.

‘I think of Mitzi so often and yearn for her constantly,’ she said.

‘My husband and I both try to focus on making sure that our remaining children receive the emotional and physical support that they need.

‘They both miss their sister desperately and are still trying to process her loss, as we all are.

‘Mitzi’s death has meant that my daughter, Mycha, has lost her best friend, her shadow.

‘Her brother has lost his sweet little sister whom he adored and who adored him.’

She said: ‘I am still dealing with the injuries. I have been told that my stumps may break down and I might need more of my leg removed.

‘I am not sure how long my legs will carry me for – I may well become permanently wheelchair-bound and that is something that I am scared about.’

She added: ‘It has been difficult for me – I was looking after Mitzi. I do ask myself what else I could have done.

But you could set yourself mad going off on a train of thought thinking of the what-ifs.’

Company chief Gordon skimped on repair bills and cut corners on safety before the crash in Bath last February.

His mechanic Wood gave the lorry the all-clear three weeks before the crash, despite an accident investigator later describing the truck as the worst HGV he had ever inspected.

Stephen Vaughan, 34, Phil Allen, 52, and Robert Parker, 59, also died when the lorry hit a car they were travelling in was hit and Mitzi’s grandmother, Margaret Rogers, suffered life-changing injuries.

Gordon, 30, and Wood, 55, were each convicted of four counts of manslaughter following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The lorry careered down the ‘very steep’ hill of Lansdown Lane in Bath, Somerset, at the beginning of last year, causing devastation in the residential street.

Robert Parker (left) and Phil Allen (right) – both executives at a power firm – were killed

Mr Allen and Mr Parker were being driven by chauffeur Stephen Vaughan, who also died when his car was hit

Mr Allen and Mr Parker were being driven by chauffeur Stephen Vaughan, who also died when his car was hit

Gordon and Wood were convicted following the trial, while the driver of the truck, Phillip Potter, 20, was cleared of all the charges he faced.

The court previously heard that Mr Potter was following Gordon – the owner of Wiltshire-based Grittenham Haulage – down the steep lane when the brakes on his 11-year-old truck failed.

He struck Mitzi and Mrs Rogers as they crossed the road, before hitting three parked cars and killing Mr Vaughan, Mr Allen and Mr Parker, who were sitting in a Volvo.

Witnesses saw smoke coming from Mr Potter’s lorry and smelt the brakes burning as he drove down the hill.

The ABS warning light – indicating problems with the braking system – was also on.

Mr Potter, who had only worked at the company a few days, insisted he would never have driven the lorry had he known the brakes were faulty.

An accident investigator said the lorry was in the worst state of any vehicle he had inspected

An accident investigator said the lorry was in the worst state of any vehicle he had inspected

The tipper truck was found to have ‘serious and longstanding defects’ but none of these were ever recorded in company paperwork.

Prosecuting, Adam Vaitilingam QC described Gordon’s business as ‘a shambles from start to finish’.

Grittenham Haulage did not carry out the recommended brake efficiency tests on the vehicle, which had almost 450,000 miles on the clock at the time of the incident.

The final safety check was by Wood in January last year, weeks before the tragedy.

Mr Vaitilingam said the inspection was ‘wholly inadequate’ and described the truck as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

  • SHARE PICTURE

References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.