Peter Morrison, 37, was chatting to Zach Clough about a goal he had scored for Bolton against QPR the day before, a court heard
A top football agent rammed his vehicle into two men at ‘excessive’ speed as he was distracted when texting at the wheel, it is claimed.
Peter Morrison, 37, was chatting to Zach Clough about a goal he had scored for Bolton against QPR the day before, a court heard.
Morrison, from Manchester, then swung across three lanes of the M6 in his 4×4 Mercedes, killing father-of-one Adam Gibb and injuring Paul Holroyd. The pair had been on motorway duty near Tebay, Cumbria, before the collision.
The football agent had been driving from Scotland to Manchester at an average speed of around 81 mph, despite there being a variable speed limit of 50mph on the route because of bad weather, the court heard.
He had also been ‘constantly using’ his phone during the journey, sending a video 96 second before the crash. He had received a reply 45 seconds before the accident on February 21 last year.
Mr Gibb, 51, from Penrith, Cumbria, was killed. His colleague, Mr Holroyd, from Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, also 51, was seriously injured and left paralysed from the chest down.
Morrison has pleaded guilty to causing Mr Gibb’s death and Mr Holroyd’s injuries by careless driving, but denies death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
He claims he was not speeding at the time of the crash or driving at excessive speed.
However prosecutor Arthur Gibson claimed Morrison’s speed was ‘grossly excessive’ in the build up to the ‘catastrophic incident’.
His wife, business colleagues and clients had been involved in the text conversation, jurors heard.
Arthur Gibson added: ‘He wasn’t concentrating properly on his driving, on the road signs, on the traffic ahead because he was distracted.
‘Why was he distracted? Because he was constantly using and concentrating on his mobile phone during the journey.’
In one exchange, just minutes before the collision, Morrison was said to have asked Nottingham Forest footballer Zach Clough, who played for Bolton at the time: ‘Do you have a video of the goal?’
Mr Clough responded: ‘not saved on my phone, no’, and then follows up with: ‘Have you seen it?’
Adam Gibb was killed after football agent Peter Morrison’s car collided with his on the M6
Morrison replied several minutes later ‘yes’, Mr Gibson said, before sending a link to video footage ‘presumably of the goal’.
In response, Mr Clough states: ‘Not bad was it, ha ha.’
Mr Gibson told jurors: ‘Unfortunately during the gap between Mr Morrison sending the link to that goal, and Zach presumably looking at it and going “not bad, ha ha”, Adam Gibb was killed and Paul Holroyd left paralysed and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.’
Morrison told police after the crash he ‘lost control’ of his Mercesdes and that it felt like he was ‘on ice’.
When interview, he provided a prepared statement where he accepted responsibility for the crash and apologised for what had happened.
But Morrison was in a defiant mood, adding: ‘I don’t accept that I was driving at excessive speed.’
Morrison accepted the mobile phone analysis showed he was both sending and receiving messages.
‘I accept this was very unwise,’ he said. ‘I do not accept any suggestion I was distracted at the time of the crash.’
The trial continues.
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