LIVE: New Forest ambulance crash trial

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Latest

  • The trial of a man accused of causing two deaths in a horror crash is due to begin at Bournemouth Crown Court today .
  • Richard Husband has pleaded not guilty to causing the deaths of a paramedic and an elderly man by careless driving.
  • The 26-year-old, who lives at New Forest Drive in Brockenhurst was charged following an ambulance crash on the A337 Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst road on April 27 last year.
  • Paramedic Gillian Randall, 42, and 88-year-old Francis Ironside were killed in the collision after the ambulance veered off the road and into a tree.

4:31pm

That's the end of the trial for today.

Court will resume tomorrow morning at 10am.

4:28pm

The witness says he could hear the siren and see the blue lights.

He says the dark coloured vehicle "just came out".

"I'm a lorry driver of 30-odd years and if you are overtaking you should look in your mirror," he said.

He is very emotional again as he recalls going to the cab of the ambulance and holding Ms Randall's hand.

4:25pm

The witness says the ambulance overtook the Sprinter while on the 'wrong' side of the road.

He has become quite emotional as he recalls seeing what happened.

"Where is the ambulance and the dark coloured car when they impact?" asks Ms Maylin.

"The blue one came out as it was overtaking the silver one."

4:23pm

Traffic in front slowed down and nearly stopped, the witness says.

In the oncoming traffic, he observed a silver car, a dark coloured car, a Sprinter van and then the ambulance, he said.

The silver car is Dr Judd's, and the dark coloured car was being driven by Husband.

4:22pm

The final witness of the day is the driver of a camper van travelling in the opposite direction to the Alhambra.

He says he was "maybe half a mile" away from the ambulance.

It was on its own side of the road with  vehicles in front if it when he saw it, the witness recalls.

4:17pm

He got out of his car to try and assist those who were hurt.

At this point he noticed a dark coloured car with damage down the driver's side.

The court will not hear what the witness tried to do to help those involved, but he has been commended by both the prosecution and defence, as well as the judge, for his actions that day.

4:13pm

He continued on down the hill, and saw to his right a vehicle that had been involved and debris on the road, he said.

He thought the ambulance could be attending that accident, but then saw the vehicle had hit a tree.

4:13pm

He couldn't hear a siren, he recalls.

The traffic in front was beginning to slow, the witness said, and "all of a sudden the vehicle just veered off to the right hand side at speed.

"It all happened very quickly but I thought to myself, there isn't a road there."

4:11pm

He reached the top of a hill and could see as far as the entrance to New Park.

"In the distance I saw blue flashing lights," he says.

From where he was at the brow of the hill, he was around 500 metres away from New Park.

4:10pm

The next witness is Paul Lamar.

He was driving in the direction of Brockenhurst on the day of the collision.

He had been driving behind a lorry and a camper van.

 

4:07pm

He didn't see what caused the ambulance to take that action.

The witness then drove to the scene of the collision, where he used a fire extinguisher on the smoking wreckage of the ambulance.

He told police afterwards that the larger vehicle completed a "sudden and severe right turn".

He said at this time that he thought the ambulance might be going to pull into a side road because the movement was so severe.

4:05pm

The witness pulled over as far as he could go and slowed to "near enough a stop", he says.

The oncoming car does the same.

He could see the top of the ambulance coming and then it did a sharp right turn, he said.

He saw it "bounce".

"Grass verge turf came up," he said.

4:05pm

The witness pulled over as far as he could go and slowed to "near enough a stop", he says.

The oncoming car does the same.

He could see the top of the ambulance coming and then it did a sharp right turn, he said.

He saw it "bounce".

"Grass verge turf came up," he said.

4:05pm

The witness pulled over as far as he could go and slowed to "near enough a stop", he says.

The oncoming car does the same.

He could see the top of the ambulance coming and then it did a sharp right turn, he said.

He saw it "bounce".

"Grass verge turf came up," he said.

4:05pm

The witness pulled over as far as he could go and slowed to "near enough a stop", he says.

The oncoming car does the same.

He could see the top of the ambulance coming and then it did a sharp right turn, he said.

He saw it "bounce".

"Grass verge turf came up," he said.

4:02pm

He saw the ambulance coming towards him with blue lights flashing.

When he first saw it, was on the correct side of the road.

"There was a silver car coming towards me and it stated to pull over a little to overtake it," the witness recalls.

"When we started getting closer it pulled over to the side because it saw the ambulance coming, and the ambulance moved over it get past it."

4:00pm

He was driving behind the flatbed tipper van.

There were also vehicles behind him.

He approached the brow of a hill and could see "miles"

3:58pm

No more questions for Mr Strange.

The next witness is a man called Simon who was driving from Lyndhurst towards Brockenhurst in a van.

He was on a delivery route with which he is very familiar.

3:55pm

The witness attempted to help the driver of the ambulance.

He saw the driver of the Alhambra as he left the ambulance.

"He was distressed," he says.

"I think he said 'I didn't see him' and then a little while after he said 'We had the music on loud'."

3:52pm

The ambulance had always been on the wrong side of the carriageway during the entire time Mr Strange could see it, he says.

He saw the impact and the ambulance went into a tree, Mr Strange said.

The Alhambra "pulled alongside the ambulance and stopped", he recalls.

3:49pm

He saw Dr Judd's car slow and stop, and a black car behind it - Husband's Alhambra.

"Where was the ambulance as it began to make a manoeuvre?"

"It was beside it," the witness says.

"It sideswiped it and the ambulance veered off into a tree."

3:47pm

He says he couldn't hear sirens, but he could see the blue lights flashing.

"When you first saw this ambulance travelling in your side of the carriageway but in a northbound direction, how far away was it from you?"

"250 yards, 300 yards," he recalls.

It was overtaking approximately five cars, the witness says

3:45pm

New witness is called.

Tommy Strange was travelling with Mr Bowles at the time of the collision in the direction of Lymington.

He spotted the ambulance travelling towards them.

"It was on our side of the road," he said.

3:42pm

The witness is looking at the statement he gave it police shortly after the incident took place last year.

He told officers at that time that the man sitting with his head in his hands had said: "I didn't see it, I had my music on."

3:39pm

The witness continued towards the scene. It took him a little while to get there as he was "quite a long way away".

He went to the cab of the ambulance but quickly realised he couldn't assist Ms Randall.

"Did you see anyone not connected with the ambulance but connected with what had happened?" asks Ms Maylin.

The witness says he saw a man sitting with his head in his hands.

"He said something like, 'I didn't see it' and something about music."

3:36pm

The ambulance was overtaking the other cars on the stretch, the witness says.

"I can't picture the ambulance across and then it just ricocheted," he said.

He then saw the ambulance move from the carriageway and leave the road altogether.

3:34pm

The witness says: "Another car come into the path of that ambulance."

He says it was a black people-carrier style car.

Now says he only saw it in that level of detail parked up after the crash.

"I couldn't see very well at all really - it happened too fast," he says.

3:32pm

"I looked up and saw the blue flashing lights for one or two seconds and then it came off the road," he says.

Ms Maylin is asking about the seconds before that - "Where was the ambulance in the road?"

"I initially thought it was on the correct side, but I heard people say it wasn't," he says.

3:31pm

Mr Bowles was in a tipper van travelling at around 40mph.

He noticed "a long way in front" an ambulance, which he says was quite some distance away from him at that point.

3:28pm

Mr Mundell stands down.

The next witness is called. 

He is Aaron Bowles.

On the day of the accident, he was travelling along the road in his vehicle with a passenger.

3:26pm

Ms Maylin asks about the van in front.

Witness says it was smaller in length but similar width.

The vehicle remained in front of him throughout, and he didn't have a clear view around it as he drove.

3:24pm

The witness is recounting that the ambulance passed at least his vehicle and another as it progressed down the road.

At no stage did he see the ambulance duck back into the left hand lane, he says.

 

3:22pm

Short break is now coming to an end and the jury are being brought back in.

3:12pm

The witness says he saw Husband.

"He was in a distressed state," he says.

"He was saying, 'I can't believe this has happened, is this my fault'. He was holding his head and his hair."

3:11pm

At this point the witness saw the ambulance embedded in a tree and called for help.

He then went to the ambulance driver to see if he could help, but Ms Maylin says: "It became apparent you couldn't help, is that right?"

Mr Mundell nods.

3:10pm

He saw debris on the road up ahead and could no longer see the ambulance.

He turned on his orange roof lights and overtook others along the stretch before parking the van at an angle to stop others trying to drive through.

3:07pm

"I looked in the side mirror and it was there with the blue lights, coming up behind me," he said.

The witness slowed down and flashed the vehicle in front with his headlights before indicating and pulling over into the verge.

3:05pm

On the morning of the crash, the weather was good and traffic "reasonable" he says.

He was travelling behind a maroon van as he drove along out of Brockenhurst.

He became aware of an ambulance coming up the road from behind him.

"I was last car of the line heading towards Lyndhurst," he says.

3:04pm

The witness knows the road well, he tells the court.

He says the road is "big, long, straight, tree-lined".

3:03pm

The witness steps down.

Next to recount their evidence to the court today is Paul Mundell, who was travelling from New Milton towards Ashurst on the A337.

He drives for a living and was in a Mercedes Sprinter panel van at the time.

3:00pm

The witness is being shown some maps detailing the trajectory of the ambulance, the Alhambra and Dr Judd's Skoda.

There are questions about the siren.

"You didn't hear a siren at any stage, did you?"

"No."

2:56pm

Questions from the defence.

He asks her to look back in her mind's eye about the moment she saw the Alhambra pull out.

"You said you didn't see him check his mirrors at that stage, but you can't remember if he did or didn't before that," he says.

She agrees with this.

2:55pm

The witness says she saw the ambulance veer off, and the Alhambra swerved and stopped.

She called the emergency services.

The male got out of his Alhambra and went over to the ambulance, she says.

"He looked quite shocked," she said.

2:52pm

"I saw the car pull out and the ambulance quite close behind," she says.

She saw there was a man driving the Alhambra.

"What did you see, if anything?"asks Ms Maylin.

"Not a lot," she replies.

"I didn't see his head moving, as if to look into the mirrors."

2:48pm

The witness did not hear a siren.

She was looking over her shoulder at the ambulance, which was travelling in the same direction as the car she was in.

As she did that, she saw the Alhambra.

2:46pm

The road was straight, and she was in the front passenger seat with a good view.

Her conversation with the driver was interrupted after that person spotted an ambulance approaching.

"I could see the ambulance with blue flashing lights," she said.

2:44pm

A young witness has been called.

She was a passenger in one of the cars that was travelling along the road at the time of the collision.

2:42pm

"Did you form a view about the speed of the ambulance?"

"I suspect it was doing 60-70 miles per hour, but I don't know," the doctor replies.

The ambulance was travelling at around 70mph, the jury heard earlier today.

2:40pm

"The traffic oncoming when the situation presented itself certainly allowed for enough room for the ambulance to overtake," he says.

"If the driver of the Alhambra had chosen to overtake your car, from the perspective of the oncoming traffic that was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, subject to the ambulance of course."

The witness says that depends.

2:38pm

"Do you know what was behind the Alhambra?" He asks.

Dr Judd replies: "No I don't."

"You don't recall seeing a large white Sprinter van?"

"No."

2:37pm

The witness is now being cross-examined by the barrister defending Husband.

He is asking about her speed and any possible impairment to her vision when she looked into her mirror.

2:35pm

Dr Judd said she did not see the Alhambra's alleged manoeuvre into the path of the ambulance herself, but that all three vehicles - including her car - were suddenly "parallel" to each other. 

2:33pm

The witness is being shown some photographs. She is asked to identify her vehicle, and says it was not damaged at all during the course of the incident.

Ms Maylin asks: "After the impact between car and ambulance, did you move your vehicle at all?"

Dr Judd said she didn't.

 

2:31pm

The doctor said she made the assessment that she was unable to help Ms Randall.

She recalls that Husband said: "I just didn't see it" as they stood at the side of the road.

2:29pm

The doctor went to the back of the ambulance. She saw a male paramedic lying on the floor, an elderly gentleman on the bed, and another man too.

She said the elderly gentleman couldn't be helped at that stage.

The witness then went forward to the front cab to see the driver through the back of the ambulance.

"I couldn't really get in or do anything," she says

2:27pm

Husband's car initially stayed behind, but then both the ambulance and the car passed "parallel" to the doctors car and "hit broadside", she says.

"There was a lot of debris went flying in the air, the ambulance went off at tangent and hit a tree and then slowly slipped sideways into a ditch," she says

2:24pm

She was aware the ambulance was still behind her and believes the lights were still illuminated.

Her vehicle came to a stop.

The cars on the other side of the road had taken measures to slow down, seeing the ambulance was coming, she says.

2:23pm

Dr Judd said the ambulance was travelling in the same direction, but going faster.

"I decided to slow down and indicate left," she says.

"I didn't stop immediately because at that stage the road was clear in front, but as the car coming towards us got closer I stopped."

2:22pm

As she drove, she became aware of a blue flashing light.

She says she saw the light first and established it was an ambulance, but did not hear a siren.

A vehicle was driving behind her, she says, and she was aware of it being there.

2:20pm

There wasn't much traffic and the weather was fine, the witness recalls.

She was travelling at around "40 or 50 miles an hour"

2:19pm

Dr Melissa Judd has been called.

She was driving along the road at 9.30am in her silver Skoda Yeti at the time of the collision, travelling towards Cadnam.

 

2:15pm

The trial will shortly resume.

We're expecting to hear evidence from an eye-witness.

1:08pm

There will be an hour-long break now before the first witness for the prosecution is called this afternoon.

1:07pm

"If any of us were unfortunate enough to sit where Mr Husband does now, we would want nothing less than 12 members of the public, ordinary and true, to take that oath," Ms Maylin says.

She adds that jurors have to ask themselves, "Did he look in his mirrors?

"Did he see the ambulance? Was he distracted by teenage boys playing music too loud? Did he appreciate the scene around him?"

1:03pm

Ms Maylin is asking for jurors to take what she has said so far today as an "outline and an overview".

"As His Honour told you, the prosecution bring this case and the indictment will always remind you of that," she says.

"Because we bring this case it is only right and proper that we must prove it to you."

12:58pm

The photographs show detailed damage caused to the ambulance, as well as debris caused by the collision in the road.

Dr Judd's car is also being shown. The vehicle was completely undamaged.

 

12:55pm

The final resting place of the ambulance is being shown to jurors. Ms Maylin says she hopes she will have nothing more traumatic for them to have to view during the course of this trial.

12:52pm

That's the prosecution's case. Over the coming few days, there will be evidence from a number of witnesses.

Ms Maylin is now talking the jury through their bundle, which contains evidence that will be used in this case.

 

12:48pm

Ms Maylin says that according to investigators: "If Mr Husband, when he commenced the manoeuvre, had either checked his mirrors or looked over his shoulder, he should have seen, if not heard, the ambulance."

12:46pm

Investigators found no physical reason for Husband not to be aware of the ambulance.

We've heard that although some witnesses say the sirens were on, others cannot recall hearing it although all saw the blue lights flashing.

12:43pm

As is his legal right, Husband gave a no comment interview when he was first arrested.

However, at a later point he told police he was driving pupils from a school - at which he was employed as a support worker - when the collision occurred.

The teenagers had been listening to loud music, he said, and he had repeatedly asked them to turn it down.

He said he had checked his mirror and the road ahead before beginning to complete the overtaking manoeuvre when he saw the Skoda in front slow down.

12:41pm

The police began their investigations as soon as they arrived at the scene.

After speaking to Husband, one of the attending officers arrested him on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

The defendant "almost fell down" upon his arrest, the prosecutor says

12:36pm

Another witness said there were no issues with its overtaking as there was ample room.

He saw the ambulance swerve off the road and into the trees.

Another saw the Alhambra begin overtaking as the ambulance pulled up alongside it, Ms Maylin says.

"The manoeuvre appeared to him to be sudden and it crashed into the side of the ambulance," she says.

12:32pm

Another witness reported seeing Husband with his head in his hands after the collision.

He allegedly said: "I didn't see it, I didn't see it.

"I had my music on."

12:31pm

Witnesses said Husband was "hysterical" and said "I didn't see it" and "Look what I have done", the prosecutor alleges 

12:30pm

She says that the ambulance then lost control, striking a tree.

The doctor went straight to the back of the ambulance, where she realised Mr Ironside had not survived the crash.

Paramedic Richard Riley, travelling in the back of the ambulance, was "on the floor in pain".

She then went to the front to see if she could help the driver.

Ms Maylin said: "She could hear Ms Randall was still making noises as if trying to breathe.

"The doctor made the very  difficult decision that she could not help Ms Randall."

12:27pm

"She thought it was parallel to her- her car on the grass verge, the Alhambra and the ambulance," Ms Maylin said.

"She heard the impact, she saw the debris from the ambulance and the car fly out into the road."

12:24pm

The prosecutor says that Dr Judd pulled over to the side of the road, indicating, to allow the ambulance to pass.

But the prosecutor says that Husband, driving behind her, then attempted to overtake her.

She alleges that this is what causes the collision.

12:21pm

Dr Melissa Judd was driving a silver Skoda Yeti followed by Husband in the Alhambra.

She saw blue lights in the distance.

 

12:20pm

On the morning of the accident, Mr Ironside's son received a call to say his father had collapsed.

By the time he arrived, the ambulance was already there. The paramedics made the decision to take Mr Ironside to Southampton Hospital.

It became clear to David Ironside during the journey that his father's condition had deteriorated, the prosecutor says.

12:18pm

A map of the ambulance's route and speed has been plotted.

At one point, according to investigation work, it reached around 70 miles per hour as it drove towards the hospital.

12:14pm

Jurors will also see photographs of the "debris field", the resting place of the ambulance, damage to Husband's car and other images during the course of this trial, Ms Maylin said.

An aerial view of the A337 will also be used.

12:11pm

Jurors are being shown photographs of the road.

Both of the vehicles involved in the crash were travelling in the same direction - towards Southampton.

Richard had three young people with him in the Alhambra at the time of the crash.

These teenagers cannot be named.

12:08pm

The weather on the morning of the collision was fine and dry with no high winds and the visibility was good, she says.

Traffic was "light to moderate"

12:07pm

"The road at the scene of the collision was looked at by forensic collision investigators.

"They found that the road surface was in a fair overall condition with no obvious defects," Ms Maylin says

12:05pm

Investigations of both the ambulance and the Seat Alhambra being driven by Husband revealed there were no mechanical defects in either vehicle, Ms Maylin says

12:01pm

We are hearing more about Ms Randall, who was 42 at the time of her death.

On the day she died, she had gone with a colleague to collect Francis Ironside, who was seriously ill.

They were using lights and sirens as they drove in the direction of Southampton.

12:00pm

Ms Maylin is opening the case.

She explains that she will provide an "overview" of the case.

"Gillian Randall was driving the ambulance that day," she said.

"Both she and patient Francis Ironside unfortunately died for injuries sustained in a road traffic collision."

11:56am

There are a lot of people in court today - the public gallery is full.

The judge is explaining that the defendant does not need to prove that he is not guilty, and it is for the prosecution to prove that he is guilty.

 

11:52am

The judge is now taking jurors through their duty in this case.

"Under no circumstances whatsoever should you seek any additional information other than what is before you," he warns.

11:50am

The jury are being told that Husband is charged with two counts of death by careless driving.

He has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Judge is warning jurors that they may find some of the evidence upsetting.

"You would not be human if you didn't feel moved to some extent," he said.

"I have to stress that you will not be fair to anyone if you allow your emotions to govern your head and common sense."

11:44am

The prosecutor is now reading aloud the names of witnesses in this case to jurors. No names have been recognised.

The jury will now be sworn.

11:40am

The judge is outlining the case. He says there has been a lot of media coverage, and he would be surprised if jurors haven't heard or read about the incident, but that they must put anything they have heard out of their minds.

11:38am

Seven women and five men have been selected. The judge is asking if anyone would have serious difficulty if the case is to go into next week. None do.

11:36am

Members of the jury will now be selected. Husband will have the opportunity to object to the called jurors when their names are called.

11:25am

Length of trial is being discussed. It is likely to be finished by Friday, Ms Maylin says.

11:21am

A few matters are being raised before a jury sits this morning.

11:16am

The case had been called on. Kerry Maylin will shortly open for the prosecution.

10:59am

The trial is currently expected to begin at around 11.15am.

10:50am

Good morning. Our reporter Alex Winter is covering the trial at Bournemouth Crown Court which is due to begin shortly.

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