Chop­per ‘cow­boy’ sen­tenced for ly­ing to in­quest

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - JA­SON WALLS and CHELSEA HEANEY

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”.

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