Football Agen Found Guilty Of Causing Death By Dangerous Driving
7th November 2017
A top flight football agent has been convicted of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
Peter Morrison lost control of his Mercedes ML 4x4 on the M6 near Shap.
His car ploughed into the hard shoulder, hitting highways traffic officer Adam Gibb, 51, and his colleague Paul Holroyd. Mr Gibb died, while Mr Holroyd survived but was left paralysed.
Morrison, 37, admitted that his driving before the accident - on February 21 last year, when his average speed reached 81mph - had been careless, and that his use of a phone at the wheel was "unwise."
But he denied it was dangerous.
The jury returned its unanimous guilty verdicts this morning after deliberating for a day.
The six day trial heard how experts who examined Morrison's Apple iPhone after the crash found that he had sent or received 25 mobile phone messages in the 23 miles immediately before the crash.
At the time, the road was being battered by strong winds, and driving rain - weather so bad that it was like driving through a car wash, according to one motorist who gave evidence.
Morrison told the jury that shortly before the crash, he noticed a sign warning of an accident ahead and another advising a 50mph speed. This prompted him to slow to between 60mph and 65mph, he said.
He said he wanted to concentrate on the road.
But prosecutor Arthur Gibson suggested he had made up that account of the tragedy, and that the accident was the result of him speeding in bad weather while using his phone.
The defendant's Mercedes span out of control, ploughing into the hard shoulder and hitting the two traffic officers as they were supervising the recovery of two vehicles damaged in an earlier accident.
Mr Gibson had told the jury: "He was concentrating on something else other than his driving, the road conditions and the road."
The barrister insisted that Morrison, from The Warke, Worsley, was distracted by his phone as he drove at "excessive speed" in poor weather.
The defendant said that he has been devastated by the consequences of the accident he caused, and thought about the people whose lives were affected every single day.
As Morrison stood in the dock, his head bowed, his barrister John Dye, said: "The inevitable consequence is that he will receive a substantial custodial sentence in relation to this matter. He's well aware of that."
He will be sentenced on November 23 and Judge Peter Davies granted the defendant bail as an act of mercy.
Speaking after today's verdict, Robert Smith for the CPS, said: "This is a tragic case where two highways officers who were making the road safe for other people were hit by an out-of-control car.
"Morrison was using his mobile phone while driving at dangerously high speeds for the road conditions at the time.
"He failed to heed the many variable speed limit signs and notice boards warning drivers about the accident ahead.
"Morrison pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, claiming that a gust of wind and the wet road had caused him to lose control of the car.
"It was the prosecution's case, however, that his driving was dangerous and after considering the evidence against him, the jury have agreed.
"Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims at this time.