Bin lorry man in court over tragedy UPDATED

A bin man was killed after being hit by a telegraph poll which was knocked down by his colleague as they collected rubbish in a Leeds street, a jury heard.

David Nelson, 56, suffered major head trauma and died in Beeston Park Terrace after Ronald Fieldhouse, 51, mounted the pavement and struck the pole as he reversed the refuse lorry.

Fieldhouse, of Grange Avenue, Tadcaster, went on trial at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, where he denies causing his colleague's death by careless driving.

Heather Gilmour, prosecuting, said the incident happened when the two Leeds City Council employees were part of a team collecting rubbish at around 7.50am on April 19 last year.

Fieldhouse's role was to drive the refuse wagon and Mr Nelson was the banksman, a job which involves loading the rubbish into the back of the vehicle and helping the driver to reverse.

Emergency services were called to the cul-de-sac after the incident but Mr Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fieldhouse was arrested and told officers that he had forgotten the telegraph pole was there. He said Mr Nelson disappeared from his view and at that point he felt a "shudder" and immediately stopped and got out.

Mrs Gilmour said the cab of the wagon was fitted with a monitor, giving the driver a clear view when reversing.

She said the truck was also fitted with two wing mirrors and Fieldhouse had undergone safety training, as well as being issued with a handbook of rules.

She said: "The Crown submits that there was plenty of room in the road for the defendant to reverse the vehicle down the road without coming into contact with any parked vehicles."

She added: "By reversing on the pavement as he did, the defendant drove carelessly and also failed to stop when his banksman disappeared out of view."

Sharon Connor, a Beeston Park Terrace resident, told the court how she heard a loud bang as she was opening her curtains and saw the telegraph pole and Mr Nelson fall to the ground.

She said: "I wasn't sure whether it was in the house or outside because it shook the house."

Asked to describe Fieldhouse's actions after the collision, she said: "He just got out and ran over to him, looked at him and then he seemed as though he was really shocked about what happened.

"He was throwing his arms up and down as if he was thinking 'Oh my God, what have I done?

"He got his phone out, I suppose to ring an ambulance.

"He looked in too much shock and was shaking so I thought he might not be able to do it.

"So I thought I would ring an ambulance myself."

Proceeding

A British Rail Class 155 diesel multiple unit (DMU) at Leeds station. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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