THE PARENTS of a man killed on a pedestrian crossing by a lorry have told of their devastation after the driver was cleared of causing his death by careless driving.
John and Janet Thompson spoke out after a judge today (Tuesday, February 25) ordered a jury to find Paul Vowles not guilty of causing the death of their 27-year-old son Jake Thompson.
The couple of Belmont, in Durham City, said: “We are devastated and appalled that after a two-year battle for justice the full facts of Jake's case weren't ultimately put before a jury in court to decide the outcome.
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“We have had to fight every step of the way to make the police play the role they should have done from the start and to bring Jake's case to court.”
Mr Vowles' truck hit the teaching assistant on a pedestrian crossing on the A37 in Bristol, in May 2011. He died died five days later.
The driver's barrister, Ian Dixey, told Bristol Crown Court today that his client would have to live with the consequences of the incident for the rest of his life - and was “extremely sorry”.
The jury heard the trucker was driving slightly above the speed limit and went through a traffic light as it changed.
But the court heard Mr Thompson stepped onto the crossing when the light for pedestrians was red – directly into the path of the Mercedes truck.
Mr Vowles, 45, from Knowle, Bristol denied causing death by careless driving.
Mr Dixey argued that the prosecution had failed to establish a case to answer.
Judge Martin Picton agreed and directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
He said there was evidence of careless driving, in that Mr Vowles was driving as fast as 36mph, but the case was flawed in terms of whether his actions caused Jake’s death.
In their statement the family said: “To have the judge instruct the jury to render a not guilty verdict over a technicality is a bitter blow.”
They added: Jake was our beautiful son.
“He was loved dearly by his family and his many friends.
“His ambition in life was to help disadvantaged young people - but having had his own life cut cruelly short, this is a passion he will be unable to fulfil.
“Losing Jake has left a void in our lives and the lives of all who knew him.”
They added, they would review the judge’s comments before deciding “where we go from here”.