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Soldier flown from Afghanistan to give evidence in North Devon death crash trial

By NDJNews  |  Posted: October 30, 2012

Catherine Hamer

Catherine Hamer

A British soldier has been flown 3,500 miles home from Afghanistan to give evidence for just 30 minutes at the trial of Jack Carter, accused of causing Catherine Hamer's death by careless driving.

Serviceman David Floyd was one of three passengers in a minibus which crashed on a country road in Devon 18 months ago causing the death of the 21-year-old woman student.

He was flown back to Britain to give evidence at the trial of minibus driver Jack Carter, aged 21.

Carter, from Taunton, was taking three friends of a surfing trip when he crashed near his family home at Dolton, North Devon.

Business studies student Catherine was on her way to celebrate her mother's birthday at Frithelstockstone, near Bideford. She died at the scene and her boyfriend Lee Cawse suffered serious injuries.

The prosecution say Carter lost control of the minibus when he over corrected a steering error. He says the crash was caused by a faulty road surface on which small stones caused his vehicle to veer sideways into the path of Miss Hamer's car.

Mr Floyd was called as a prosecution witness but was required to attend at the request of the defence. He could have given evidence by video link from Afghanistan.

He told the jury at Exeter Crown Court he felt the back of the minibus slide out without Carter making any sudden manoeuvre. He said:"At the exit to the bend I felt the vehicle lose control and the back end slid through with a clockwise motion. Jack was trying to fight the vehicle back and get control again.

"As he got the front in the right direction I looked ahead and saw another vehicle in the oncoming lane and we collided it and spun off 180 degrees and ended up in a hedge.

"I can't think of any reason why the vehicle would lose control apart from the road conditions and it was raining. It was wet and damp. I don't think speed was a factor. We were only going 40 to 50 mph and I did not see any fault in the driving which caused the loss of control."

Mr Adam Morgan, defending, told the witness:"I'm afraid it's my fault you were flown back from Afghanistan.

He then asked him fewer than ten questions which established that he did not think the driver had been distracted by conversation inside the minibus and he had felt a vibration under the wheels before the accident.

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