Driver guilty after bin lorry killed UK couple in New York

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The Independent US

The driver of a New York bin lorry who ploughed into a couple from Somerset on a Valentine's holiday has been found guilty of second-degree murder.

Jacqueline Timmins and Andrew Hardie visited New York in February 2008 when they were hit by the olorry that careered onto the pavement near Madison Square Garden killing the pair instantly.

The vehicle's driver, Auvryn Scarlett, 53, denied murder. But the court heard how he had failed to tell bosses that he was epileptic and had refused his medication. He is alleged to have suffered a seizure and lost control of the vehicle.

Scarlett was also found guilty of one charge of assault. The sentencing has been adjourned until 15 October.

Ms Timmins had bought tickets to New York for herself and her partner as a Valentine's gift. Earlier the court saw CCTV footage that showed the pair walking on the pavement close to their hotel on February 12 2008, having just visited a nearby restaurant.

Shortly into video, Scarlett's truck was seen mounting the pavement and driving into the couple and a third pedestrian. Concluding the prosecution case at New York Supreme Court, assistant district attorney Chris Ryan said Mr Scarlett had shown a complete disregard for the safety of others. Driving six days a week for the refuse haulage company, he knew he could have a fit at any time "on some of the busiest streets on earth".

"It is like playing a game of Russian roulette, only instead of pointing the gun at yourself, you point it at other people. And if someone dies - that is murder."

Scarlett's attorney Michael Biniakewitz said his client "is not a monster, he is not a murderer."

He said there was no dispute his client failed to take his medication but it was not with intent to kill someone. "For the prosecution to prove murder, they have to prove my client was depraved and had a wicked mindset," he said later adding that his client would appeal. "That is not the case. He made a mistake which will haunt him for the rest of his life."