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Company escapes prosecution after driver kills pensioner

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed it will not prosecute a company that was criticised by a crown court judge for putting one of its drivers under too much pressure to get to appointments.

The driver, David Griffin, crashed into and killed an 81-year-old pensioner while he was speeding from one appointment to another while working for Bolton Care Services in Lancashire.

Mr Griffin was travelling close to 44mph in a 30mph zone. He was late for an appointment to collect a patient when he hit and killed the Second World War veteran.

In court, he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and received a 10-month suspended jail sentence.

In defence, Mr Griffin’s barrister, Iain Simkin, said: “His employer left no time from him to get from job to job.”

The was accepted by Judge Stephen Everett, who said: "The company you worked for gave no leeway between you seeing one patient and another.

"It put pressure on the employee to take short cuts either with his patient's time, or sadly to drive too quickly to get to another appointment.”

However, while being heavily critical of Bolton Care Services, the judge said that Mr Griffin had to take ultimate responsibility for his actions.

The HSE confirmed that it would not prosecute Bolton Care Services.

“In conjunction with the police investigation of the road traffic collision involving Mr Griffin, the HSE investigated further issues under the working time regulations and concluded that there was no evidence of a breach of these regulations by Bolton Care Services,” said a HSE spokesman.

He said the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act earlier this year would not have altered its investigation’s focus.

“The police had primacy in the investigation of the case, and this would be the same situation had the incident happened after the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

"This Act…did not introduce any new duties on those who manage health and safety.

"It also had no impact on the working time regulations, which was the focus of HSE's investigation,” he said.

As a result of the case, a Bolton Council spokesman said: “We have just commenced looking at working practices and will be reporting in the coming months."

He also confirmed that it will continue to use Bolton Care Services.

Bolton Care Services remained uncontactable.

 

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