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Motorist tells jury he didn’t try to pervert course of justice after fatal Lakes crash

Matthew Leggett

A MOTORIST has denied throwing away his mobile phone and trying to “stage the theft” of his car after a fatal Lake District road crash.

Carlisle Crown Court has heard how Matthew Leggett’s BMW 1 series struck 61-year-old pedestrian James Greenwood as he crossed the A66 on foot with friends while returning to a camp side near Keswick just before 12-30am on April 7 last year. Mr Greenwood, of Shropshire, suffered fatal injuries.

James “Jimmy” Greenwood

Leggett, a 24-year-old electrician, is on trial. He faces no charges in relation to the collision itself, but denies doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice in the immediate aftermath. It is alleged he drove 12 miles from the scene, parked his BMW off the road close to woodland and deliberately disposed of his mobile phone.

The prosecution claim his vehicle was “abandoned”, with its lights and radio still on, “to make it look as though it had been stolen”, and tried to “avoid detection by police”.

But, giving evidence today (FRI) Leggett denied the allegations. He recalled driving towards Keswick and seeing people ahead of him next to the A66. “As I have glanced to look at them on the left side of the road there has just been a big bang on the windscreen,” he said.

He didn’t know what he had hit, he told jurors, and phoned a friend to arrange collection beside remote woodland they knew well. “I was in shock. I was in panic,” he admitted. “I would have stopped if I had seen Mr Greenwood in the road.”

His barrister, Anthony Parkinson, asked: “Did you park your vehicle in that place, in the way it was parked because you had a plan to pretend that the vehicle had been stolen?”

Leggett, of Sonnets Way, Cockermouth, replied: “No. It was just parked there simply because we (he and his friend) both knew it well from when we were younger. It was easy to get there.”

Asked whether, as alleged, he threw away his mobile phone – which was never recovered – Leggett responded: “No. I didn’t have any reason to throw my phone away.”

The trial continues.

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