Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SELBY CRASH: DRIVER GUILTY; Verdict on the Train Disaster That Killed 10

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SELBY CRASH: DRIVER GUILTY; Verdict on the Train Disaster That Killed 10

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH POOLE

MOTORIST Gary Hart is facing a long jail term tonight after being found guilty of causing the deaths of 10 men in the Selby train disaster after falling asleep at the wheel.

Hart, 37, who could spend up to 10 years in jail, fought back tears and his legs buckled as the foreman of the jury at Leeds Crown Court returned its verdicts on 10 counts of causing death by dangerous driving. Hart's wife Elaine, 38, burst into tears.

Mr Justice Mackay, who will sentence Hart in January after reading medical reports, released him on bail until then, but he said: "You do not need me to tell you that you stand in peril of going to prison and going to prison for a substantial period."

The judge went on: "My mind is not closed to alternatives but in effect it is inevitable in a case of this enormity and magnitude."

Survivors and relatives of the dead held each other closely and wept quietly when the 10-2 majority verdicts were given after 11 hours of deliberation.

Hart, a father of four from Strubby, Lincolnshire, fell asleep at the wheel on the M62 near Great Heck, north Yorkshire, on 28 February. The construction contractor had been exhausted after spending five hours on the telephone the previous night to a woman, Kristeen Panter, who had answered a personal advertisement he had placed on the internet.

He eventually admitted to officers that he only had between 45 minutes and an hour's sleep in the 24 hours before the crash. Sleep expert Professor James Horne said Hart must have known he was falling asleep. Yet he did not stop.

His Land Rover and trailer, carrying a Renault estate car, ploughed down the embankment into the path of a Great North Eastern Railway express, travelling at Elaine Hart accompanies husband Gary to court today to hear the verdict.

His conviction for causing death by dangerous driving 10 times over could lead to him being imprisoned for up to 10 years. …

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