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Goole trucker found guilty of causing Catterick soldiers' deaths by careless driving
5:50pm Friday 6th September 2013 in News
A TRUCKER who killed two soldiers in a crash as they drove home to Catterick Garrison has been warned he may face prison after being found guilty of causing their deaths by careless driving.
Colin Pattison, 53, was found not guilty at Carlisle Crown Court of the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.
However, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on charges that he caused the deaths of Lance Sergeant David Mark Gartland, 40, of the Grenadier Guards and Private James Bell Fairburn Austin, 24, of 400 Troop Royal Logistics Corps, by driving without due care and attention.
Pattison crashed his wagon, heavily laden with doors, at 30mph into the back of an Army Land-Rover which had already smashed into the trailer of broken-down lorry which was belching thick smoke across the eastbound A66 at North Stainmore, near Brough, Cumbria.
The prosecution said he should have slowed right down, like other drivers did when confronted by the blinding smoke.
But even though Pattison, an HGV driver of more than 30 years, admitted seeing the smoke from about 500 yards away he continued driving at normal speed and did not brake, assuming it was due to stubble burning.
Moments after the soldiers’ Land-Rover went into the back of the smoking truck, Pattison’s lorry crashed into the back of the Land Rover - crushing it to half its size against the wagon in front.
A pathologist said she was in no doubt the soldiers, returning to North Yorkshire from Warcop Training Centre near Appleby, survived the first impact but died in the second which happened at about 1.40pm on Thursday, September 1, 2011.
Both Pte Austin, of Catterick, and L Sgt Gartland, of Greater Manchester, were based at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick Garrison.
Pattison, of Newclose Lane, Goole, Humberside, denied causing their deaths by dangerous driving and by careless driving.
The court heard after the crash Pattison told police that driving into the smoke was “like someone put a bag over my head."
After the verdict Pattison was remanded on bail for sentencing reports.
Judge Barbara Forrester warned him that the fact he had been granted bail did not mean he would not be going to prison when sentenced on October 4.