Man jailed for fatal bus attack

A bus driver who used his single-decker bus to knock down and kill a man who tried to confront him over damage caused to his pick-up truck was jailed for seven and a half years yesterday.

Martin Barlow, 30, sustained fatal injuries when he was dragged for about 40 seconds under the bus, driven by Christopher Eggleton, 46, in Rochester, Kent. Mr Barlow had suspected that damage to his "pride and joy" Mitsubishi Trojan had been caused by a bus days before the incident, while it was parked near his home.

A trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard he contacted the bus company initially but "got nowhere" so tried to trace the bus responsible himself.

Eggleton, from Chatham, Kent, was convicted of manslaughter after previously pleading guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Mr Barlow was killed after he flagged down two buses to question their drivers about the damage to his truck on 3 April last year.

According to an eye witness, Mr Barlow approached Eggleton's bus with his arms outstretched. As Mr Barlow was about to reach the driver's side, the bus driver revved his engine and then moved forward towards him.

Prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC told the jury that Eggleton "knew that he was there but moved his bus forward nevertheless".

The court heard how Mr Barlow was holding onto the windscreen wiper on the near side of the bus before he was dragged under the vehicle. He was crushed to death as his body was dragged some 435 metres before being thrown from under the bus and into the road.

Eggleton drove on to his bus depot in Gillingham where he told colleagues that he thought he had just killed someone. He 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. Eggleton said that, rather than just Mr Barlow, three or four men had surrounded his bus while banging on its sides and shouting. However, this version of events was disputed by witnesses.

Following sentencing, Chief Inspector Mark Arnold, of Kent Police, said: "This has been a tragic case for all of those involved, especially Mr Barlow's family. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."