Lorry driver convicted of causing fatal Corsham collision by careless driving

Wiltshire Times: A lorry driver who left 89-year-old Tommy Ford dead after crashing into him as he crossed the road is facing the prospect of a jail term A lorry driver who left 89-year-old Tommy Ford dead after crashing into him as he crossed the road is facing the prospect of a jail term

A lorry driver who left 89-year-old Tommy Ford dead after crashing into him as he crossed the road is facing the prospect of a jail term.

Andrew Greenhalgh was convicted of causing the death of Mr Ford by careless driving in November 2012.

Greenhalgh, 43, of Dicketts Road, Corsham, had denied the offence but was found guilty following a three-day trial at Swindon Crown Court.

His Seddon Atkinson was going south on Valley Road, Corsham, when it struck the pensioner who was on his way home from visiting a friend's widow.

What the jury were not aware of was that one of the first things Greenhalgh did following the crash was delete two texts from his mobile phone. He had sent a message to his ex-wife at 5.04pm and she replied 50 seconds later, roughly three minutes before the first 999 call was made.

Greenhalgh made no mention of the texts to the police when he was first questioned and were only uncovered when officers looked at his phone bill.

Prosecutors wanted to present the evidence to the jury saying it showed that his mind may have been elsewhere at the time of the crash.

But Judge Tim Mousley QC ruled it was inadmissible as it was clear the texts had been sent and received significantly before the crash.

And it was pointed out that the tachograph reading showed the lorry had stopped for about 45 seconds at the time the texts were sent and received.

Greenhalgh, who could now face up to five years in jail, denied the charge he did not give evidence at the trial.

In his interview with the police he said he had seen the elderly pedestrian and though he braked, could not avoid him.

The jury had been told Mr Ford, who was using a walking stick, was almost across the road as he headed for his home on Cresswells when he crossed the road.

It is unlikely that Mr Ford, who had hearing aids on both ears, looked to his left before stepping into the road in the dark on Monday November 26, 2012.

A few hundred yards before the collision the lorry was recorded as travelling at 38mph, over the 30mph speed limit for the road.

Charles Gabb, prosecuting, told the jury: "Whilst the tragedy is Mr Ford as a pedestrian may well have an element of responsibility for the accident, the primary responsibility is that of Mr Greenhalgh.

"Mr Ford had walked at least 7.1 metres from the driver's off side in to the road before he was stuck. What in that period of time was Mr Greenhalgh doing? Why wasn't he able to avoid the collision?"

After the jury returned the guilty verdict the judge adjourned the case to Friday, May 16, for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and imposed an interim driving ban.

Mr Ford, who leaves a wife Bridget and daughter Lynn, was a member of the Corsham Bowls Club. He was also involved with the town's Royal British Legion and had a distinguished naval carer, winning medals for service in the Atlantic and Pacific during the Second World War, and in the Falklands conflict.

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