Trucker John Essex changes dangerous driving plea to guilty after death of Stroud father Martin Acock
A TRUCKER whose careless driving caused the death of a Stroud father of four in a collision just outside Gloucester has apologised to the victim's family today.
John Essex, 48, of Eaton Crescent, Taunton, had previously pleaded not guilty to causing the death of 43-year-old motorcyclist Martin Acock by driving a 7.5 tonne Daf lorry without due care on the A38 Quedgeley by-pass on October 20, 2012.
But today he asked for the charge to be put again to him at Gloucester Crown Court and he pleaded guilty.
Recorder Rosie Collins banned him from driving immediately and bailed him for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. She told him that when he returns on February 10 all sentencing options would be open to the court, including prison.
Members of Mr Acock's family were in court to hear today's developments.
Defence barrister Ian Dixey said: "I know Mr Essex would want me to express his profound regret to the family who are here. I will deal with that in more detail at the next hearing."
The Recorder said: "These are always very, very tragic circumstances and there is really nothing one can so to the family and there is no sentence one can pass which will compensate them."
The court heard today that although Essex is now admitting the offence he disputes the prosecution allegation that he was attempting to make an illegal right turn at the junction where the collision happened.
Mr Dixey said the defence did not accept that and it would be a matter for the sentencing judge next month to decide if there would have to be a trial of issue to resolve the dispute.
Recorder Collins said: "It is a theory put forward by the expert in his report, isn't it, concerning the position of the vehicle, braking, the indicator being on and the windscreen wipers were also on but it was not raining. That is odd.
"It may be that in a panic the mechanics were flicked on completely by accident. But anyway that is a matter for yourselves and the sentencing judge to resolve."
Mr Dixey said he would put the defence version of events in writing in time for the next hearing.
"If there is to be a trial of issue hearing the only person who can give evidence about it is Mr Essex himself. In those circumstances the court would have to be satisfied he was not telling the truth about it."
Recorder Collins said she would impose an interim driving ban to run from today as Essex is bound to receive a disqualification of at least one year when he is sentenced next month.
Mr Acock, a keen motorbike rider, left his partner of almost twenty years, Lorraine, and four children Leanne, Suzie, Sammy and Daniel. He was a keen sportsman who played rugby for Stroud,
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