Bus driver 'used vehicle to mow down pedestrian'

A bus driver used his six-and-a-half-ton single-decker to mow down a pedestrian who tried to confront him over damage caused to his pick-up truck, a court heard today.

Martin Barlow, 30, was dragged for about 40 seconds under the Arriva bus driven by Christopher Eggleton before being thrown clear into the road with fatal injuries.

Mr Barlow suspected that damage to his "pride and joy" Mitsubishi Trojan had been caused days earlier by a bus while it was parked outside his home in Catherine Street, Rochester, Kent.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that he contacted the bus company initially but "it appears got nowhere" so tried to trace the bus responsible.

Prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC said that on the evening of April 3 last year he decided to flag down two buses as they travelled by his home.

After speaking to the first driver that passed at about 7.40pm, Mr Barlow approached Eggleton's bus more than an hour later with his arms outstretched, according to an eyewitness.

Jurors were told that as Mr Barlow was about to reach the driver's side, the bus driver revved his engine and then moved forward towards him.

Opening the prosecution's case, Mr Barraclough said: "Mr Eggleton knew that he was there but moved his bus forward nevertheless.

"Mr Barlow ended up holding on to the windscreen wiper on the near side of the bus and well within Mr Eggleton's view, and he was dragged under the bus.

"He was crushed to death and his body was dragged some 435 metres before being thrown from under the bus and into the road."

Eggleton, 46, carried on to his bus depot in Gillingham where he told colleagues that he thought he had just killed someone, Mr Barraclough added.

He then went to his bus inspector's home where he told a 999 operator that he thought he "had done wrong big style", the court heard,

Mr Barraclough went on: "He made up a story about three or four men surrounding his bus and banging on the sides and shouting.

"He said that he panicked and continued to move to encourage the man who died to move away."

He added: "The prosecution's case is that he used his bus to assault Barlow or his driving was so appalling, so grossly negligent, that he is not just guilty of dangerous driving but he is guilty of manslaughter, which is the principal charge."

Eggleton, of Dale Street, Chatham, denies manslaughter and causing death by dangerous driving but admits causing death by careless driving, the jury was told.

Mr Barlow sustained multiple injuries, including cuts, bruises and fractures all over his body.

The trial, which is expected to last up to two weeks, continues tomorrow.

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