Fatal crash an 'avoidable tragedy'
Dec 8 2008
A road crash in which four children died when a Land Rover plunged into a river was an "avoidable tragedy", a court heard.
Mechanic Nigel Gresham is accused of four counts of causing death by dangerous driving following the accident which left four of his seven children dead.
The 37-year-old was at the wheel of his modified Land Rover when it flipped off the road at Tattershall Bridge, Lincolnshire, and rolled into the River Witham. His children, Willow, two, Angel, four, Thor, six, and eight-year-old Keavy, died as a result of the accident on September 16 last year.
Gresham, his partner Sara Bolland, 31, and their three eldest children, Liam, 14, Amber, 11, and their older sister, Star, 14, survived the crash.
Lincoln Crown Court heard the Land Rover, which was made up of parts from four different cars, had many "ill-judged" modifications designed to improve its off-road performance. Repairs and maintenance of the car were also "incompetent", the jury was told.
Timothy Spencer, QC, prosecuting, said: "Of course this was a tragedy. No one suggests that Mr Gresham set out in order to have a road traffic accident and no one suggests that he deliberately intended to endanger the lives of his family.
"But it was an avoidable tragedy. He must have known, despite what he said to police, that this was a defective vehicle. He must have known it was in a dangerous condition and it should not have been on the road in the state it was in."
The court heard that Gresham was driving along Witham Bank at between 50mph and 60mph when he confronted a white Transit van towing a trailer of canoes coming in the opposite direction.
He pulled the Land Rover over to the near side but as it mounted the grass verge a bracket close to the rear axle snapped, causing the car to turn on its side before flipping over and rolling down the bank into the water.
Gresham, of Chapel Hill, Lincs, denies all four charges. The case was adjourned.