Chopper ‘cowboy’ sentenced for lying to inquest
THE helicopter pilot who died in a crash in Central Australia last weekend was jailed in 2017 for lying to a coronial inquest into a gyrocopter death in which he was implicated.
Campbell Douglas Taylor, 47, was killed and his 23-yearold passenger was critically injured when the chopper went down northeast of Alice Springs on Saturday.
The Sunday Territorian can now reveal Taylor had been out of jail for less than 18 months at the time of the crash after he was convicted of perjury and fabricating evidence at the 2013 inquest.
Brisbane Coroner John Lock was investigating the death of Sam Beresford, 21, who was killed in 2011 by the rotor of the gyrocopter he bought from Taylor the previous day.
After being compelled to appear at the inquest, Taylor then admitted to lying to workplace investigators and his evidence in court was found by Mr Lock to be “very concerning and untruthful”.
“There were many parts of his evidence, including the very late production of a gyroplane logbook, a document that has every sign of having been produced retrospectively, which makes whatever he says unreliable,” he wrote.
Taylor gave Mr Beresford flying lessons prior to selling him the gyro but Mr Lock found he did not follow the formal syllabus and his record keeping was “grossly inadequate”.
“My view (is) that any evidence of Mr Taylor on this and other issues is either unreliable or untruthful, it is impossible to conclude with any level of certainty that the pilot training conducted by Mr Taylor was adequate,” he wrote.
“The distinct impression is it was inadequate.” Mr Lock recommended Taylor be banned from training anyone else in gyrocopter flight.
“Given the disturbing evidence of the inadequate training of Sam and that Mr Taylor may have trained other persons, CASA should contact other students to ascertain the level and quality of training provided,” he wrote.
Taylor’s lawyer told the court he believed evidence he gave may incriminate him but the Queensland Coroners Act makes incriminating evidence gathered during an inquest inadmissable in further proceedings, other than for perjury.
Taylor was subsequently handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended after four months, in February last year for lying to the inquest.
A former colleague of Taylor’s, who did not want to be named, described him as a “lovely bloke” but also a “cowboy”.