Trucker appeals against death conviction

A LORRY driver who claimed that his vehicle was "lit up like a Christmas Tree" was today appealing against his conviction and sentence for careless driving following a crash near Ipswich which resulted in the deaths of two Suffolk pensioners.

A LORRY driver who claimed that his vehicle was "lit up like a Christmas Tree" was today appealing against his conviction and sentence for careless driving following a crash near Ipswich which resulted in the deaths of two Suffolk pensioners.

Pamela and Edward Bishopp who lived in Melton died when their Honda Accord smashed into the back of Keith Wright's articulated lorry on the Felixstowe-bound carriageway of the A12 near Brightwell on December 19, 2000.

Wright, 53, of Church Lane, Playford later appeared before magistrates and denied careless driving but was found guilty and fined £1,000.

Today Ian Francis for the respondents told the appeal hearing at Ipswich Crown Court that the fatal accident happened in darkness at about 6am as Wright was driving his lorry which was loaded with 26 tonnes of coal.

Mr Francis said that Wright had pulled out of a lane onto the A12 at Brightwell and had turned right onto the Felixstowe-bound carriageway.

Mr and Mrs Bishop had been travelling along the Felixstowe-bound carriageway and had received fatal injuries when their car smashed into the back of Wright's lorry.

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Wright later told police that his lorry had been "lit up like a Christmas Tree".

He said that when he heard the bang he thought it was a tyre blowing but then realised a car had hit him.

Mr Francis said although there were no signs stopping Wright from pulling across the carriageway and turning right he should not have carried out the manoeuvre that morning. He said that Wright told officers that in adverse weather conditions or in heavy traffic he and other drivers would turn left onto the A12 and drive up to a roundabout at Martlesham and then turn onto the Felixstowe-bound carriageway.

"Mr Wright states that in the circumstances he found himself in it was safe for him to do what he did. We say it wasn't safe for him to do that."

Mr Francis said that photographs of Mr Bishop before his death showed him wearing glasses. No glasses were found at the scene of the accident but because of damage at the scene of the accident this did not necessarily mean he had not been wearing them at the time of the collision.

The hearing continues.