Bath tipper: owner and mechanic sentenced collectively to 12 years and nine months in prison

Emma Shone
January 27, 2017


Grittenham Haulage owner Matthew Gordon and mechanic Peter Wood have been sentenced collectively to 12 years and nine months in prison.

Four people lost their lives after the incident in Bath that saw a Grittenham Haulage tipper lose control and crash on Lansdown Lane in Bath on 9 February 2015.

At the sentencing hearing at Bristol Crown Court today (27 January), justice Brian Langstaff sentenced mechanic Peter Wood, 56, to five years and three months in prison.

Matthew Gordon, 30, the owner of the haulage firm, was given a custodial sentence of seven years and six months.

Delivering his sentence, the judge told Gordon: "You not only failed, but your failure was fully, exceptionally bad. 

"You exposed [Philip] Potter to the horror of unavoidably killing a young child. 

"It's highly foreseeable that serious injury or death could result if the brakes are not maintained. You fell short of this, and this was the culture of your business. 

"It is unlikely it will happen again, but it was not a one off act of total disregard for the safety of others. It was part and parcel of the business you ran. It was an accident waiting to happen."

The court heard a letter from Gordon, in which he apologised to the families and of the collision's victims. 

He said: "Please tell the families how sorry I am. I was working too hard and driving too much, and let things get out of control". 

During the sentencing, the judge recounted the "appallingly bad condition of the brakes", and that "an experienced driver should have realised that". 

He added that driver Potter had complained more than once about the ABS light showing up in the vehicle, but that the men "had done nothing about it". 

"The defects with the brakes were obvious to anyone inspecting from underneath. 

"You didn't wish for this to happen, but a lorry like this is likely to harm the public if not maintained," he said. 

Both men, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, were convicted of four counts of manslaughter in December.

The driver of the crashed Scania, Phillip Potter, was acquitted by the jury.

A statement released by Avon and Somerset Police after the convictions last year stated that the condition of the truck’s brakes at the time of the collision was “totally inadequate”, with an overall efficiency of just 28%.

During the four-week trial, the court was told how the Chippenham-based company flouted regulations, and vehicles were signed off as roadworthy despite having longstanding faults.

Detective chief inspector Rich Ocone said: “Our investigation revealed a shocking picture of a company culture with complete disregard of safety and maintenance. This was a company with a very casual attitude towards safety.

“The public have an expectation to trust that businesses ensure that they are operating safely. Regular maintenance and servicing of all vehicles - but especially heavy goods vehicles - is vital.”

Subsequently it was revealed that Grittenham Haulage had been stripped of its O-licence following the fatal crash.

Picture: Press Association



About the Author


Share this article

Vehicle Type