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Lorry driver David Thomas cleared of M25 death crash

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

by Keith Hunt

A lorry driver involved in a multiple pile-up on the M25 near Dartford has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving after the case against him was dropped.

David Thomas was facing trial after pleading not guilty to the charge in February.

Nicola Culshaw, 33, of Cowper Road, Bromley, died in the seven vehicle crash between junctions three and two near Sutton-at-Hone on April 16 last year.

Mr Thomas, 40, was driving his truck on the Essex-bound carriageway when it was in collision with six stationary vehicles, queuing in the slip lane for the A2 exit at junction two.

As well as the fatality, two men were seriously injured, one suffering brain damage, and an 18-month-old girl was among others who needed hospital treatment. The road was closed for more than 10 hours.

But Anthony Prosser, prosecuting, told a judge at Maidstone Crown Court that no evidence would now be offered against Mr Thomas, of Nightingale Avenue, Upminster, Essex,

The decision was made, he said, because experts had found that 10 per cent of drivers did not realise they are about to suffer a "sleep attack".

"Since the Crown cannot show Mr Thomas was aware of sleepiness before the collision occurred, the prosecution would not succeed," said Mr Prosser.

Judge Philip St John-Stevens said he appreciated by the Crown had taken the decision "in the sad and tragic case these always are".

Only Mr Thomas's solicitor was present for the brief hearing under new cost-cutting measures.

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