The ArgusDustcart driver switched off reversing alarm (From The Argus)

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Dustcart driver switched off reversing alarm

The Argus: Colin Bullard was driving a 12-tonne dustcart when Anne Smith was run over Colin Bullard was driving a 12-tonne dustcart when Anne Smith was run over

A rubbish truck driver killed a pensioner after he switched off his lorry's reverse warning alarm system, a court was told.

Charity worker Anne Smith was hit from behind at about 12mph as Colin Bullard backed the 12-tonne lorry into a pedestrianised precinct.

A jury at Hove Crown Court was shown shocking CCTV footage of the tragedy as it unfolded.

Mrs Smith, 62, was walking up Cranbourne Street, Brighton, when the yellow Team Waste lorry reversed into the cut-through from West Street to Churchill Square.

Mrs Smith had her coat hood up and appeared not to hear the truck before it hit her and she disappeared underneath it.

The lorry reversed its entire length over her, leaving her body on the pavement in front before stopping a few feet away.

Jury members looked shocked as they watched the images on screens set up in the court yesterday.

Stephen Shay, prosecuting, said flashing amber lights on the Mercedes Iconic refuse truck were switched on and working just after 6am on March 5 last year.

He said Bullard, 32, had switched its reverse warning alarm off because it was so early in the morning.

Mr Shay said there was a monitor in the cab connected to a camera at the back of the truck but it was not receiving a picture.

Bullard, who had started work at 4am that day, later told police it had failed on his last working day before the accident.

He had not had time to report it because of his early start time that morning, the court heard.

Mr Shay added: "He said the reversing alarm was switched off because of the time of day.

"The prosecution does not criticise him for that. It was a reasonable thing to do given the time.

"He said the monitor had not been working properly and he was about to report it but did not have the chance. Again, we do not criticise him for not reporting the defect, he would not have had time to report the fault.

"There was a blind spot behind the lorry and it was because Mrs Smith was within that blind spot he did not see her and ran her over. Had the camera been working he might have been able to see her."

Mr Shay said Alan Parsons was working as the bin loader on the lorry with Bullard.

He continued: "Because the monitor was not working the prosecution says Mr Parsons should have acted as a banksman.

"He should have got out of the lorry to make sure it was safe to reverse and it was Bullard's responsibility to instruct him to do so. This is a matter of common sense as Cranbourne Street is a pedestrian precinct and it is reasonable to assume that pedestrians will be using it at that time of day."

Mr Parsons told the jury that they had both checked for vehicles and pedestrians and gave each other the "all clear" before starting to reverse.

He said: "We were reversing up and I was looking forward out of the front of the lorry.

"We got over half way up the street when I saw someone come from under the lorry just in front of us. She was lying in the road.

"I was not sure what had happened and I said: Colin, I think we have just hit someone.'"

Mr Parsons said he had continued to check for any problems as the lorry reversed but would not have expected to be asked to get out to guide it as there appeared to be nobody in the street.

Nicholas Syfret, QC, defending, asked: "The monitor in the cab is nothing to do with reversing, is it?"

Mr Parsons replied: "No, it is there so that he can see what is happening when I am working at the back of the truck. It is nothing to do with reversing."

He added that since the accident Team Waste had made it compulsory for loaders to get out and watch when they reverse.

Accident investigator PC Christopher Harrison said the blind spot behind the lorry could have extended for 50ft.

He estimated the truck's speed at about 12mph when it hit Mrs Smith, who lived in East Street, Brighton.

PC Harrison agreed Mrs Smith may have been continually in the lorry's blind spot.

Bullard, of Southall Avenue, Brighton, denies causing death by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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