Lorry driver escapes jail over fatal accident

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A LORRY driver who should not have been on the roads when he was involved in a fatal accident has escaped being punished with an immediate prison sentence.

David Trevor Bate, 42, of Dene View Crescent, South Hylton, was not blamed for the smash with a Renault Kangoo van, which was overtaking three eastbound vehicles on the A181 at Running Waters, near Durham, on November 20, 2009.

The van’s driver, Ross Mitchell Paterson, 30, from Glasgow, suffered serious injuries and died 10 days later in hospital. But investigations found Bate used a fake large goods vehicle licence to enable him to drive for a Hetton van and truck hire business.

Stuart Graham, prosecuting at Durham Crown Court, said Bate was also mid-way through a six-month driving ban at the time of the accident.

Bate was first charged with causing death by driving while disqualified, using a false driving licence, fraud by making false representation to his employer to enable him to acquire the job, and driving without a licence.

But the case had been left in abeyance pending the outcome of an appeal court hearing into another similar case. The allegations were then replaced by a charge of driving while disqualified, which Bate admitted.

Jamie Adams, mitigating, told the court Bate had suffered clinical post traumatic distress as a result of Mr Paterson’s death, and was now on the roads legitimately. Judge Christopher Prince imposed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work and ordered Bate to pay £1,200 costs of the case.