Two men, one a mechanic and the other the owner of Grittenham Haulage, have today been jailed following the fatal tipper truck crash in Bath in February 2015 in which four people died.
Matthew Gordon has been jailed for seven years and six months and Peter Wood was jailed for five years and three months after being convicted for their involvement in the death of four people in Lansdown Lane in February 2015.
Gordon was also banned from being a company director for 12 years.
DCI Richard Ocone said: “Firstly, our thoughts remain with all those affected by this horrific incident.
“These sentences reflect the seriousness of the offences committed, bringing to a conclusion a complex 22-month investigation, which centred on the blatant disregard of a company in its duty of care to the public.
“As a company owner Matthew Gordon had no transport manager and effectively flouted every regulation, which had been put in place to ensure safety.
“His mechanic Peter Wood signed off vehicles as safe when they clearly were not.
“Detailed and complex investigations showed many of the faults on the vehicle were longstanding – highlighted by the fact that the brakes on the lorry at the time of the crash, were totally inadequate, having an overall efficiency of just 28 per cent.
“If there is just one single lesson to be learned from this sad and tragic incident, it is that company transport owners must adhere to a duty of care, which includes regular maintenance and servicing of all vehicles.
“The public needs complete reassurance that this work is undertaken regularly and remains a top priority for all companies.
“I would once again like to thank our partners in this investigation – the Crown Prosecution Service and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – for their expert advice and support in what was an extremely complex and detailed investigation.
“Finally, I hope that the jailing today of both Matthew Gordon and Peter Wood helps to provide some form of closure on this particularly difficult and traumatic time for the family of those who died or suffered serious injuries following the dreadful incident on 9 February almost two years ago.”
Alyson Harris, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS said: “Today, Matthew Gordon and Peter Wood have been sentenced but we need to remember the devastation their gross negligence caused to innocent lives and their families as well as the deep impact this has had on the community at large, including the emergency services and all the passers-by who attended the scene many of whom were traumatised by what they saw.
“The Crown Prosecution Service worked with the Police and then with the barristers who presented the case for us for over 18 months in order to achieve this result and we hope that it will bring some sense of justice to all those hurt by this terrible collision.”
Victim impact statements from the families of those killed were read out in court, including from the mother and grandmother of Mitzi Steady, the wife of Stephen Vaughan, the wife of Philip Allen and the wife of Robert Parker.
Emmajade Steady, Mitzi’s mother, said: “My husband and I are heartbroken that Mitzi will not get to live her life to the fullest, a life she loved with a vibrance and enthusiasm, bringing such joy to all who knew her.
“We are devastated that our bright, lively, beautiful, vibrant, outgoing little girl will never have her first day at school, learn to read, have best friends to giggle and play with … the list is endless.
“We are bereft and emotionally distraught to be without our child. I still find it difficult to sleep and accept that Mitzi has died. That I can no longer hold her and protect her.
“That she had to suffer such a sudden, traumatic, senseless death. That I was not there with her and cannot be with my beautiful girl now.”
Stephen Vaughan’s wife, Sian, said: “I have lost a husband, Steve’s parents lost a son, my parents lost a son-in-law, our Nieces and Nephews have lost an uncle, our family have lost a grandson, nephew and cousin and our friends have lost a dear friend and the ripple effect goes on.
“Steve touched so many lives and we will never forget his purpose in life which was to smile, love, give and laugh and thankfully we were lucky enough to share in his life all be it short but, significant.”