Bin lorry driver jailed for caus­ing death of girl, 14

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Ross Mc­Carthy Court Re­porter

ABIN lorry driver who killed a 14-year-old girl in a hor­rific crash with a minibus as she went on a school trip has been jailed for three years and four months.

Bal­let-mad Holly Brown died when the refuse truck driven by Ni­cholas Buck, 52, of King­shurst Way, King­shurst, rammed her minibus as she was go­ing on an art visit to the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens.

At Birm­ing­ham Crown Court Buck, who had pleaded guilty to caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing, was also dis­qual­i­fied him from driv­ing for five years and eight months.

The crash hap­pened on the A38 Kings­bury Road, Cas­tle Vale, on July 7 2017. Holly, who was a stu­dent at John Tay­lor High School in Bar­ton Un­der Need­wood, near Lich­field, was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

The court was given heartrend­ing tes­ti­mony of the im­pact of Holly’s death on her fam­ily and school­friends.

Martin Brown, her fa­ther, said: “The events have dec­i­mated our fam­ily. I still find it dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend she is no longer with us any more. It is a much qui­eter house now. I also miss the quar­rels and the ar­gu­ments. What is the sad­dest part for me is that the ac­ci­dent has stopped Holly reach­ing her po­ten­tial. It is such a waste of life. How do we fill the gaps that has been left in our lives?”

Twin sis­ter Emma said: “We did ev­ery­thing to­gether. She was taken away from me in an in­stant. She is the main part of all my mem­o­ries. Fu­ture dreams and as­pi­ra­tions are all lost.”

Mum Sara Brown said she dropped Holly off and the 14-yearold was ex­cited about the trip to the Botan­i­cal Gar­dens.

She was go­ing to sketch flow­ers dur­ing the art trip. Mrs Brown told Birm­ing­ham Crown Court : “She looked beau­ti­ful as al­ways. About an hour later our world came crash- ing down. It was dif­fi­cult to even breathe. We tried to be strong and united.

“Holly was a keen dancer, aca­demic and tal­ented. She lived life to the full.”

A friend of Holly, who did not wish to be named, and who was in the minibus, said: “I have had nu­mer­ous panic at­tacks. I can­not sit on the right side of a car.”

A fa­ther of an­other girl who was on the minibus told Birm­ing­ham Crown Court : “She was talk­ing to Holly when the tragic in­ci­dent hap­pened. She was un­able to re­call the de­tails of the in­ci­dent. Post trau­matic stress or­der was di­ag­nosed.

“She re­ceived a course of ther­apy. She was un­able to talk to my wife and I but she has been able to open up to her coun­sel­lor. There is a feel­ing of help­less­ness. The in­ci­dent has had a trau­matic ef­fect on us all as a fam­ily. The loss of Holly has been at the fore­front of her thoughts.”

An­drew Jack­son, de­fend­ing, said Buck had writ­ten a note to the fam­ily which showed an “im­me­di­ate de­gree of re­morse.”

He said: “This is not a case where he has de­nied re­spon­si­bil­ity. The suf­fer­ing he has ex­pe­ri­enced is not in any was com­pa­ra­ble to that suf­fered by Holly’s fam­ily.

“This is not a heart­less and un­car­ing man. The re­morse he has ex­pressed is gen­uine. He did not set out to do this.”

Judge Avik Mukher­jee said: “You have rel­e­vant pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions which ag­gra­vate your sit­u­a­tion. Holly was an artist and was ex­cited. The trip had not started be­fore it came to a tragic con­clu­sion. Holly was wear­ing her seat belt sit­ting near the back.”

Buck had a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for driv­ing with­out due care and at­ten­tion on July 29, 2014, when he hit an­other driver’s wing mir­ror.

He said: “You were not a novice driver of such a ve­hi­cle. Driv­ing such a ve­hi­cle as this bring with it re­spon­si­bil­ity. It is a pow­er­ful ma­chine. When you turned right you failed to give way at the junc­tion and to see the coach. It did not have suf­fi­cient ac­cel­er­a­tion. There was no rea­son­able ex­cuse for you fail­ing to see that coach.

“Mr Bag­nall did what he could to avoid you. Your lorry struck the rear area where Holly was sit­ting with cat­a­strophic re­sults. Mer­ci­fully there were no other se­ri­ous phys­i­cal in­juries. You did not tell the po­lice the whole truth in the in­ter­view. You lay blame at Mr Bag­nall’s door sug­gest­ing he had been speed­ing.

“This was a se­ri­ously dan­ger­ous ma­noeu­vre, a ma­noeu­vre im­pos­si­ble to com­plete. I am sat­is­fied there has been a se­ri­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact on two pas­sen­gers sit­ting next to Holly.”

The judge ac­cepted Buck’s re­morse and the pro­found ef­fect on his fam­ily. He jailed him for three years and four months and dis­qual­i­fied him from driv­ing for five years and eight months.

> Ni­cholas Buck

> Holly Brown

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