'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)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower