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He killed seven and didn't care

14th January 1984
Page 20
Page 20, 14th January 1984 — He killed seven and didn't care
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

I HOPE BBC Panorama viewers did not think the man who dismissed the death of an Asian family as "one of the things that happen" was a typical lorry driver.

He had been on what the lawyers call a frolic of his own to see a girlfriend. He later fell asleep while driving on a motorway and crashed into a minibus parked on the hard shoulder, killing all seven occupants. He was charged with careless driving and with hours and records offences.

He was fined £485, of which £250 was for the slaughter of the innocents, and was disqualified for a year. The chairman of the magistrates was surprised that the charge was not one of reckless driving, but a police superintendant said that would have required proof of the driver's mental attitude, which was not possible.

The Panorama interview between Margaret Jay and the driver was chilling. On his own admission he felt no remorse for what he had done. Asked how he saw himself, he said he was "a loner", which is not, perhaps, a disadvantage in one whose occupation is solitary.

But he added with icy candour: "I don't give a damn for anyone." His girlfriend must have been highly flattered. Heaven help anyone, too, who gets in his path. No-one with that callous outlook should be allowed to have charge of a handcart, let alone a motor vehicle.

He was fortunate not to have been guilty of smuggling whisky and cigarettes. Society would have been most displeased and its vengeance terrible.


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