Trucker ‘viewed porn’ before crash

p12845UK-News-9-1

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

A trucker who killed a fellow lorry driver in a horrific smash had previously been looking at porn while he was behind the wheel and nodded off moments before the collision, a court has heard.

John Kirk, 26, was jailed for five years for causing the death by dangerous driving of family man Andrew Nimmo, 24, in an early-morning smash on the A19 outside Middlesbrough.

Kirk, who had a second job as a printer, had slept for as little as four hours in the previous 31, and ploughed into Mr Nimmo’s Volvo truck and a Ford Focus driven by Lada Khazanovych, 38.

He was killed instantly while the pianist suffered serious leg injuries and a cut to the scalp, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Mr Nimmo and Ms Khazanovych had been involved in a minor bump and were parked on the hard shoulder of the southbound carriageway exchanging details when Kirk’s Skania articulated lorry smashed into them at around 5.25am on August 6 last year.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Kirk, from Boston, Lincolnshire, had set off from Spalding to Washington, Tyne and Wear, just before midnight and was on the return leg, driving in good conditions and daylight.

In the aftermath, Kirk admitted to police officers: “I was nodding.”

Analysis of his phone showed he had accessed porn sites on the drive up to Washington. He had also made a 40-minute phone call, despite not having a hands-free kit.

Kirk had altered his tachograph and was flouting rules about breaks and minimum daily and weekly rest periods.

The prosecution said he had slept for as little as four hours in the 31 hours prior to the accident.

Matthew Gent, defending, said it was more like six hours, but admitted the amount was below the legal requirement.

Another trucker had spotted Kirk’s erratic driving in the build-up to the collision, and was concerned about him tailgating 6ft behind his vehicle for up to a minute.

Police experts said Kirk should have been able to see the vehicles on the hard shoulder from more than 400m away, giving him a reaction time of around 15 seconds as he was driving at 52mph. But tyre marks on the road showed he reacted just a few seconds before impact.

Moving Victim Impact Statements by Mr Nimmo’s parents Gail and Gary and his fiancee Janinne Leslie were read to the court.

His parents said he was a hard-working gentle-giant who loved lorry driving, just like his father, and abided by the rules on taking adequate rest.

“Parents should never outlive their children,” his mother said. “The loss is unbearable to cope with. We will never get over this terrible, uncontrollable grief.”

Mr Nimmo, from Murton, County Durham, was due to marry Janinne this year, and was like a father to her five-year-old daughter.

Ms Leslie said in her statement: “My life instantly changed because I died with him that day. My soul mate, my best friend, died.”

Ms Khazanovych was still receiving physical and mental treatment for her injuries, and was not well enough to make a statement, the court heard.

Mr Gent, defending, said Kirk had been overworking and had two jobs as he wanted to make a better life for him and his wife, who has since left him.

He said: “He has demonstrated naivety, an immature lack of understanding that the rules are in place for his and others’ safety.”

Kirk pleaded guilty on a previous occasion to causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and falsely recording rest days.

Mrs Justice Simler said while Kirk had not intended to cause the collision, it was the “overwhelmingly likely consequence” of his driving that morning.

She added: “You are a hard-working and caring man.

“I have read the references and I accept that you feel remorse and have shared in the tragedy brought about by your own actions.

“You will have to deal with that for the remaining years of your life.

“It is clear your personal life has been destroyed, that you are now taking medication and that you are haunted by what you did.”

She jailed him for five years and banned him from driving for the same period.

Kirk had two previous convictions for using a mobile phone while driving.

Outside court, Mr Nimmo’s mother said: “The fact that he was severely sleep deprived and had earlier also used his mobile phone illegally whilst having two warnings for it means that he will have to live with killing Andrew for the rest of his life.”

She said her son came from a long line of lorry drivers. He worked for the same firm as his father – and his brother, grandfather and great-grandfather were all HGV drivers.

After the case, Pc Darren Cawthorne, who led the investigation, said: “Kirk showed no regard for the rules of the road. He ignored the strict legislation around working hours, had two jobs and went to great lengths to fabricate a false record of what work he was doing and when.

“He had also been speeding for most of the journey and had taken a call without a hands-free kit which lasted almost an hour.

“His disregard for road safety was blatant.”

“This was not an accident. Due to Kirk’s driving and lifestyle, in reality it was a disaster waiting to happen.”

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search