Death charge man's trial scuppered by police

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The Independent Online
A MAN accused of killing his best friend through dangerous driving was cleared yesterday because police sent his car to the scrap heap before experts acting for the defence had a chance to examine it.

Judge John Murchie criticised officers who ordered the Ford Fiesta to be destroyed, saying the decision meant Andrew Williams could not have a fair trial.

Williams, 23, denied he was driving his own car at Buckhold crossroads near Pangbourne, in Berkshire, last September when it crashed into another vehicle and was shunted into a post. Andrew Rose, 23, was flung from the vehicle and died from head injuries.

When help arrived Williams was nowhere to be seen, Reading Crown Court was told. Williams, of Cambridge Street, Reading, was arrested and has been in custody for the past 10 months. The court heard detectives ordered the car to be destroyed on 12 December.

Peter Nightingale, for the defence, said Williams would not have a fair trial because without the car he could not prove his innocence.

Williams admitted driving while disqualified, handling a stolen tax disc and fraudulently using a tax disc. The court was told that he had appeared before six courts in under three years for driving while disqualified and that, in theory he could be jailed for a maximum of six months for that offence. Sentencing was adjourned until Friday.