27 January 2017
At Bath Crown Court today, (27/01/2017) Mr Justice Langstaff sentenced Matthew Gordon and Peter Wood to seven years, six months and five years, three months, respectively, for the manslaughter of Mitzi Steady, 4, Stephen Vaughan, 34, Philip Allen, 52 and Robert Parker, 59.
Gordon and Wood were found guilty of manslaughter nearly two years after a runaway tipper truck killed four people and injured two others on Lansdown Lane, Weston.
The 32-tonne lorry owned by Grittenham Haulage struck and killed Mitzi Steady from Bath as she crossed a road with her gran Margaret Rogers, who suffered life-changing injuries.
The HGV loaded with aggregate then collided with two cars, killing Mr Vaughan, Mr Allen, and Mr Parker, and injuring Karla Brennan.
Phillip Potter, 20, who was at the wheel of the tipper truck when its brakes failed on Lansdown Lane, was acquitted of all charges against him.
Commenting on the sentences, Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Our thoughts are with all four families on what must have been yet another milestone, as they attempt to come to terms with life without their loved ones. This was a wholly preventable tragedy - a rogue operator running a lorry that was riddled with lethal faults. Their casual disregard for safety led to four deaths. The sentences passed are unduly lenient for the crimes committed.”
Immediately after the crash, the family of Mitzi Steady started a Just Giving page which raised £23,000 for Brake.
Mr Rae added: “As a small charity we are dependent on brave and generous fundraisers like the Steady family – many families devastated by road death and injury fundraise for us and their efforts are to be commended. This enables us to deliver our much-needed work, whether that’s supporting people bereaved and injured by road crashes or working with fleet operators to improve safety through our Brake Professional services. Every penny is needed. These tragic deaths in Bath are a sad reminder that every day five people lose their lives and a further 61 are seriously injured on UK roads, and more must be done to stop this.”