Man convicted of manslaughter refused O-licence

Ashleigh Wight
January 9, 2017


A man who was convicted of the manslaughter of four rail workers in 2004 has been refused an O-licence by traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones.

The TC for Wales found that Rhyl-based Mark Connolly was unfit to run HGVs as he had not disclosed the full circumstances of the offences that led to his conviction after the Tebay rail accident. In the accident, workers were hit by a runaway rail wagon carrying 16 tonnes of steel.

A BBC report referred to at the public inquiry (PI) last month described how Connolly had disconnected two hydraulic brakes from the wagon because it was cheaper than repairing them properly. Connolly denied this.

Evidence supplied to the TC revealed four separate convictions for manslaughter. He had originally been sentenced to nine-year prison sentences for each, but these were on appeal reduced to seven for each offence.

He came out of prison on licence in 2008 and the actual prison sentence ended in 2013.

Connolly told the PI that although he had been involved in operating HGVs at the time of the incident, his new business would be very different in nature.

He had also been stopped by the DVSA earlier in 2016 whilst operating an HGV without permission. He claimed that he had not needed an O-licence as the vehicle was carrying out recovery work, but the DVSA found the truck was no different to a general haulage vehicle.

As Connolly had held an O-licence prior to his conviction, the TC found he should have been aware of O-licensing requirements.

In his decision last month, Jones said he had been “wholly unimpressed” with Connolly. 

He said: “It is clear that the convictions resulting in four separate seven-year prison sentences for manslaughter arose from his business that included HGV transport. 

“Mark Connolly’s approach to a highly dangerous safety critical environment demonstrated the grossest of negligence.”

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