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Death driver's records scrutinised

PUBLISHED: 21:41 11 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:37 03 March 2010

A FELIXSTOWE lorry driver whose vehicle collided with and killed a man on the A12 has had his driving records scrutinised at Basildon Crown Court today.

A FELIXSTOWE lorry driver whose vehicle collided with and killed a man on the A12 has had his driving records scrutinised at Basildon Crown Court today.

Victor Coates of Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, had been working for Suffolk based MJ Graves for two weeks before the accident, which happened at just after midnight on December 14 1999.

Mr Coates, who appeared in court wearing a grey t-shirt and black trousers, was travelling towards Felixstowe when the accident happened.

Prosecuting Sir Derek Spencer QC provided the jury with a list of Coates' driving records over the period he was working at the firm.

Sir Derek said that Coates had deliberately altered the tachograph after the accident had happened to conceal the true hours that he had been working.

"There was no chart in at the time of impact. Had there been it would have revealed the violent nature of the impact. It gives a telltale sign of this.

"The tachograph machine was opened at 12.12am by Coates when he put a new one in. It is a completely false picture."

The prosecution alleges that the tachograph was tampered with after the accident.

After the crash the court heard how Coates continued driving 200 metres along the A12 after hitting Mr Fitt's broken down Ford Orion car at Marks Tey.

Yesterday, the jury was taken to the crash scene and was also provided with a detailed map of the area.

On the day of the accident, which killed 24-year-old Lee Fitt from Colchester, Coates had been returning from a delivery to Costco in Watford.

Coates faces three charges of making a false record and one of causing Mr Fitt's death by dangerous driving. He admits the offence of making false records but he denied the death by dangerous driving charge.

Earlier in the case the jury heard that Coates' haulier boss Martin Graves, 39, of Eastland Court, Trimley St Mary, had employed six regular drivers at the haulage firm and all had habitually driven excessive hours.

Graves denies five charges of making a false record and one of the manslaughter of Mr Fitt.

The trial continues.

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