LAST FEBRUARY, Wapping resident Anthony Duggan, 47, rode his motorcycle up West India Dock Road. It was to be his last journey.
Just ahead of him was a gritting lorry, bring driven by Peter Wright, 45, of Stanford-Le-Hope. There is a gap in the central reservation of West India Dock Road – just by Limehouse Police Station. There is also a big sign warning drivers that U-turns are not permitted. Peter Wright decided to ignore that sign and common driving practice and do a U-turn.
Duggan’s motorcycle collided with the lorry. Police officers were quickly on the scene and called paramedics and the air ambulance, but despite everyone doing all they could Mr Duggan was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police interviewed Wright, who claimed that when he had first begun to drive a gritting lorry, some years before, he had been told to perform illegal U-turns to ensure the road was fully gritted. Neither the police nor the Courts viewed that as an accepted defence. Wright was convicted of causing death by careless driving at the Old Bailey on 12th June after a six day trial. He returned on 30th June and was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment and disqualified for driving for 12 months.
Duggan’s brother provided the Court with a victim impact statement, in which he said that his brother’s dead had been terrible news for the whole family but was particularly devastating for his elderly mother and also his son.
DS Cheryl Frost of the Roads and Transport Policing Command, who led the investigation, explained, “There is no exception for emergency service vehicles to ignore a no U-turn sign. Rules, regulations and traffic signs are put in place to keep the public safe, and those who ignore them are a danger to other road users. In this case, ignoring a traffic sign has had tragic consequences. A man has lost life and a family has been left devastated.”