Crash coach 'had history of faults': Regular driver of bus in which 10 people died 'made several complaints' about brakes and speed-limiter to his employer. Steve Boggan reports

THE former driver of a coach that crashed on the M2, killing 10 people, had been complaining for 13 months that its anti-lock brakes and speed-limiter were faulty.

Michael Shelton, who on the day of the tragedy switched with another driver who died in the crash, told an inquest yesterday that he had reported the faults to the Travellers Coach Company but nothing appeared to have been done about them.

His evidence to the hearing in Dover came as it emerged that Alan Fishenden, the company's service manager, had complained to Kassbohrer, the coach manufacturer, that most of the firm's 12-strong fleet had anti-lock brake system (ABS) defects.

The inquest was told that he wrote to Jules Shuttleworth, managing director of Kassbohrer (UK) Ltd, in February 1993, 10 months before one of the fleet collided with a van in the fatal accident, skidded and plunged down an embankment near Faversham, Kent. Nine American tourists and the driver, Leslie Golds, died.

Mr Shelton, the regular driver, said he had had continual problems with the vehicle since he began driving it in June 1992. Asked how many times he had filled in defect reports to engineers at the company's depot in Hounslow, west London, he said more than once but not more than 10 times. 'It was a recurrent problem' he told Richard Sturt, the coroner. 'The (ABS) warning light would come on when it should not have come on.'

Mr Shelton last complained in July 1993 by writing on the back of a worksheet 'Speed limiter not working. ABS not working', for a survey of faults for warranty purposes. Mr Sturt asked whether the speed- limiter had been working at that time. Mr Shelton said: 'That was one of the faults.'

The inquest heard earlier this week that the coach's top speed before the crash had been 78mph and that the speed-limiter, required by law to cut fuel to the engine at 70mph, had been disconnected. An examination of the vehicle after the crash also revealed an ABS fault.

Mr Fishenden said there had been ABS problems with warning lights, air gaps in the system's sensors and with water getting into enclosed components, but they had been rectified. He admitted that neither he nor his engineers knew how to detect or repair ABS faults at the time of the crash. He added that he had not been told of the problems relating to the coach that crashed.

Roland Barber, a Kent police accident investigator, said that when officers visited the Travellers Coach Company after the accident they found a book containing drivers' defect complaints. However, pages dated before 29 September 1993 were missing. The crash happened on 10 November.

Geoffrey Ince, the company's coach controller, said the pages had been missing before the book was ever used. A Department of Transport vehicle examiner said the company's safety inspection and records systems were 'inadequate'.

The hearing will end on Tuesday.

Suggested Topics
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker