Owners of lorry that killed six are blamed by coroner

THE owners of a lorry that ran out of control killing six people could face prosecution after a coroner yesterday ruled that the deaths were 'involuntary unlawful killing'.

The inquest had heard that all eight brakes on the 10-ton tipper truck owned by Fewston Transport Ltd of Skipton, North Yorkshire, were defective when it crashed into a car and a BT van before ploughing into shops and houses in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, last September.

At the hearing in Bradford, the coroner, Mark Hinchliffe, exonerated the driver of the lorry, Derek Waterworth, 63, who died in the crash. The other victims were Peter Stott, 42, a BT engineer; Ann Crossley, 32, and her two-year-old daughter Karen; Beryl Rose, 46; and Angela Rook, 28.

Mr Hinchliffe said he had found a 'high standard of proof' that the lorry's owners were grossly negligent. The inquest was told that if the brakes on the lorry had been properly inspected the defects would have been observed.

Mr Hinchliffe said one or more people at Fewston Transport had a duty to have regard to the health, welfare and safety of road users and the public at large which had been breached by the failure to ensure that the braking system was in good working order. This, he said, was the cause of the six deaths.

'That breach of duty arose from gross negligence to such a degree which should, in the opinion of this coroner's court, justify a conviction,' said Mr Hinchliffe.

He went on: 'I find the brakes were so grossly deficient that taking into account the circumstances, the failure to ensure their maintenance created an obvious and serious risk that death would directly result . . . In my view this all adds up to involuntary unlawful killing.'

The coroner said the lorry had gone 49 working days since its last full safety check, and it was not the only lorry 'slipping through that particular net'. He said he would write to the Transport minister asking him to look at all aspects relating to the case and the inspection of brakes on lorries.

Earlier, he praised the lorry's driver. 'I find no evidence to suggest Mr Waterworth's driving exacerbated this in any way or that he knew the brakes were deficient when catastrophe struck. He did all in his power to avoid this tragedy,' he said.

Inspector Gary Walsh, who headed the police investigation, said later: 'As a result of the verdict it is now my intention to have further discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service, to assess the most suitable way forward in respect of this matter, and Fewston Transport and its directors.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
Rebel, rebel: Vivienne Westwood in her baroque-influenced early-Nineties designs
fashionWhy we mustn't take Dame Vivienne Westwood for granted
News
The police have been criticised in a raid on the luxury home of Sir Cliff Richard
people
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Sport
Harry Kane
premier leagueLive minute-by-minute coverage
Arts and Entertainment
Morgana Robinson
arts + entsIt is not easy interviewing Morgana Robinson. Here's why...
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin