'More speed limiters disabled': The CPS is to be sent reports of tampering on other coaches belonging to the firm in the M2 tragedy. Steve Boggan reports

POLICE who raided the Travellers Coach Company after the M2 tragedy found that compulsory speed limiters on more than one coach had been disabled.

Sources involved in the investigation and at Kassbohrer (UK), the British arm of the coach manufacturer, told the Independent that the speed limiter on the crashed coach was disconnected deliberately and that it was not the only one.

The sources who examined the company's 38 vehicles at its depot in Hounslow, west London, said 'a number' of coaches were found to be without working speed limiters.

It is understood that papers to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service give types and numbers of coaches on which speed limiters had been tampered with.

The inquest heard evidence from witnesses who said the coach's brakes appeared to lock after it collided with the rear of a Transit van last November and skidded down an embankment, killing Leslie Golds, the driver, and nine American tourists. Under EU law, all new coaches since April 1989 had to be built with limiters designed to cut off fuel when a vehicle reaches 70mph. The crash vehicle was travelling at 78mph.

The device, which looks like an irregular piece of tubing, works by regulating throttle control once it receives a signal from the vehicle's tachograph that the upper limit has been reached. Another source involved in the investigation said the company had been issued with at least three Department of Transport orders relating to coaches with faulty anti-lock brake (ABS) systems which prevent the coaches being used until the defects are rectified. He and a third source confirmed that other speed limiters on other coaches had been disconnected. The first official said that the company's tachograph records were also being examined.

Directing the jury before they retired for two and a half hours yesterday, the Dover coroner, Richard Sturt, said they could return a verdict of unlawful killing only if they found Mr Golds's driving had been a cause in the deaths.

He said there was not enough evidence of a link between the coach's faulty ABS system and the deaths. Nor was there a 'candidate' within the company whose negligence could be proven to have caused the deaths. However, the jury foreman said the failure of the ABS system was a major contributory factor.

The inquest established that:

Leslie Golds was speeding in bad weather conditions at the time of the crash;

He may have been due to start a rest period when he took the tourists on their trip to Canterbury and Leeds Castle;

Travellers Coach Company had complained to Kassbohrer in Lincoln and Germany the previous February that there were faults with anti-lock brake systems (ABS) in 'most of its fleet' of 12 Kassbohrer Setra vehicles;

Michael Shelton, the regular driver of the crashed coach, had complained that the coach's ABS system and its speed limiter were not working for 13 months before the disaster.

One officer involved in the investigation said: 'The law is quite clear: if the ABS was not working, the coach should not have been on the road. We believe it would have made a difference if it had been working.'

The inquest was told that Mr Golds, 54, was regarded as a first- class and highly responsible driver and that Travellers was positioned at the top end of the luxury coach market.

Evidence from the hearing is likely to be used by American lawyers in lawsuits for huge damages - estimated by one attorney as being a minimum of dollars 1m ( pounds 600,000) per person, rising to a total of dollars 75m ( pounds 50m) when injuries to other passengers are taken into account.

Actions are likely to be brought in the US because Windsor Inc, of St Louis, Missouri, owns Travellers International USA, the company which arranged the excursion to Canterbury and Leeds Castle in conjunction with British Airways. Several people have already included BA in statements of claim in America.

At the time of the accident, Windsor also owned the Travellers Coach Company. That is now in the hands of Steven Wells and Anthony Grayson, who took it over in a management buyout in January.

Paul Hedlund, attorney for almost half the bereaved families, said legal action would 'definitely' follow.

Trevor Golds, the driver's brother, said he was devastated that the jury appeared to blame Leslie Golds. 'Throughout the hearing, everyone has said how professional and meticulous a driver Leslie was,' he said.

But he added that he was pleased the CPS was being involved. He has been critical of the company's safety record in relation to the coach in which Mr Golds died.

He said he and his family were considering civil action against the Travellers Coach Company. It was the first time Leslie Golds had driven the crashed coach and he would have been unaware - and surprised - that the ABS system was not working as disaster struck.

Anthony Grayson, managing director of the Travellers Coach Company, yesterday refused to comment.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Sustainability Assessor

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Sustainability Assessor...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Part-time A Level Chemist...

Teaching Assistant

£12000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Secondary Teaching ...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?