Sacked HGV driver faces jail after killing pedestrian

Jaguar motorist who was previously sacked from his job as a HGV driver for using a mobile phone at the wheel now faces prison for killing pedestrian moments after sending a text

  • Steven Russell, 42, faces prison after killing a man in a car crash last December 
  • Russell, who was previously sacked as a HGV driver, sent a text moments before
  • His Jaguar ploughed into Robert Morris, 57, who was crossing a Coventry road
  • Morris suffered catastrophic injuries and died three days after the accident 

Steven Russell, 42, faces jail after killing a man in a crash last December. He sent a text moments before crashing into Robert Morris

A Jaguar driver, who had been previously sacked from his job as a lorry driver for using a mobile phone at the wheel, is facing prison for killing a man – moments after sending a text.

Steven Russell, 42, was distracted by his mobile phone when he ploughed into Robert Morris, 57, who was crossing a road in Coventry.

Mr Morris was rushed to hospital with catastrophic injuries following the crash on December 17, 2016, but died three days later.

A jury took seven hours to find Russell, of Coventry, guilty of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial at Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday.

Remanding him in custody, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: ‘You will go to custody for that in due course.’

Russell also pleaded guilty to harassing his daughter’s partner by threatening him with phone calls, texts and turning up at his home.

Mr Morris was mowed down as he crossed Ansty Road at 11.20pm after leaving the Red Lion pub where he had been enjoying a drink with his three brothers.

Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard said: ‘The defendant was the driver of that car.

‘He had done nothing to avoid the collision, he hadn’t braked, he hadn’t swerved, he simply drove straight into Robert Morris.’

Mr Morris was mowed down as he crossed Ansty Road at 11.20pm after leaving the Red Lion pub (pictured) where he had been enjoying a drink with his three brothers

Miss Orchard continued: ‘Mr Morris was there to be seen, having crossed the two lanes on the opposite side of the road, the central grass verge and the outside lane of the other carriageway before being struck by Russell’s Jaguar in the nearside lane.

‘In fact the defendant later told the police he had seen Mr Morris as he traversed the two lanes on the opposite carriageway and running onto the grass verge before crossing onto his side of the carriageway.

‘The defendant could and should have taken action to avoid Mr Morris. The only explanation is that he was not paying attention, that he had been distracted in some way.’

Miss Orchard said that when Russell’s phone was later seized by the police, deleted messages showed the phone ‘had been active around the time of the accident.’

Mr Morris was rushed to hospital with catastrophic injuries following the crash on December 17, 2016, but died three days later

The Jaguar hit Mr Morris in the nearside lane, throwing him into the air, and he landed in the road behind the car, after which Russell stopped and called 999.

Mr Morris was rushed by ambulance to University Hospital, suffering from ‘multiple and severe injuries’ from which he died three days later on December 20, 2016.

Miss Orchard said Russell made the 999 call two minutes and 40 seconds after sending a text and had received a response just 36 seconds before the emergency call.

When he was interviewed Russell said he does not send messages when he is driving, but had sent one while he was waiting at a red light and had then put his phone down.

Miss Orchard told the court that months before the fatal crash, Russell had been sacked as an HGV driver for filming a crash on his mobile phone.

During cross examination, she asked him: ‘Are you forgetting the other time when you were using a phone at the wheel? Were you driving while filming?

‘You were using a phone to record an accident which you then loaded onto social media. You did this all the time while driving a lorry.’

During his trial, Russell told the jury: ‘Do you seriously think I intended to do this? I had no intention of hitting that poor man and destroying two lives.

‘I strongly resent it being suggested I hit that man deliberately. It was a freak accident. Two lives and two families were destroyed that night.’

Russell will be sentenced at a later date. 

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