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Hauliers found guilty of manslaughter after driver falls asleep at the wheel

  • 11 June 2013
  • By Roger Brown

A father and son who ran a Northamptonshire haulage business have been found guilty of manslaughter, after one of their drivers fell asleep at the wheel.

Adrian John McMurray, 54, and Adrian Paul McMurray, 36 – who operated AJ Haulage, based in Daventry – were convicted of the killing of Stephen Kenyon, who was crushed to death when his 39-tonne lorry crashed into a line of stationary traffic on the M1 in February 2010 near Redbourn and Dunstable.

A jury at St Albans Crown Court was told the death was “an accident waiting to happen” as the father-of-four from Milton Keynes, who had debts of £10,000, had been working for more than 19 hours and driving for over 13 of those in an attempt to earn extra money.

The 35-year-old was using both his and the relief driver’s tachograph so that it would appear he was driving less, and this practice was “tolerated, if not encouraged” by the McMurrays, the jury was told. Both Adrian John and Adrian Paul, of Daventry, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and failing to discharge an employer’s duty. But after 17 hours, the jury convicted them of both charges.

Adrian John and co-defendant Heather Parkinson, 69, of County Down, also pleaded guilty to cheating the Inland Revenue of £311,976 between 6 April 2005 and 3 September 2009, and evading £424,248 VAT between 1 February 2005 and 31 July 2009. Adrian John and Adrian Paul admitted cheating the PAYE and National Insurance system of £896,050 between 6 April 2005 and 5 April 2010. Parkinson admitted cheating the public revenue and National Insurance of £15,082.

Judge Andrew Bright QC adjourned sentence for reports to be prepared on the defendants, who were all released on bail. All three are due to be sentenced at the end of this month.


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