A MOTORIST has been found not guilty of causing the death of a close friend who died in a horror high speed road tragedy.
Liam John Dixon, 27, denied being responsible for the death of pal Steven Parker.
Mr Parker, aged 23 and from Wigton, suffered fatal injuries after losing control of his powerful BMW 335D X Drive car while travelling on a damp stretch of the town bypass just before 5pm on February 3, 2018.
His car, which left the road and demolished two trees, had been following closing behind Dixon’s modified Vauxhall Corsa at more than double the 50mph limit moments before the tragedy.
Carlisle Crown Crown heard a police collision investigation had concluded – based on dash cam footage from a third vehicle – that the BMW and Corsa had been travelling “most likely around 118mph as probably a minimum” immediately beforehand.
An eyewitness recalled her “fright” at seeing the vehicles “absolutely flying past”, “about half a car length apart” and keeping pace with each other.
Dixon – who was said to share with Mr Parker “an interest in fast and powerful cars” – denied being to blame for his friend’s death.
While giving evidence during his trial this week, he denied braking while Mr Parker’s vehicle was close behind him, and refuted the prosecution’s allegation that he and his close friend were engaged in a high speed “challenge” or “face-off”.
Late this afternoon (THURS), a jury of six men and six women who heard all evidence in the case found Dixon, of Throstle Avenue, Wigton, not guilty – unanimously – of causing Mr Parker’s death by dangerous driving.
However, Dixon – clearly emotional as the verdict was delivered – now falls to be sentenced for an offence of dangerous dangerous driving he has admitted because of the speed he was travelling during the bypass journey.
The court heard Dixon also had a previous conviction, dating back around five years, for dangerous driving. “He knows there is a real risk of a custodial sentence given this is his second conviction for dangerous driving, said his barrister, Kim Whittlestone. “If the court is considering other options then a pre-sentence report in some guise would be appreciated by the defendant.”
Recorder Michael Duck QC adjourned the case until tomorrow, when Dixon will be sentenced after a report and references are considered.
As he was bailed, Recorder Duck told Dixon: “My instincts are that you are likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence but I have not come to any firm conclusion. That remains a real possibility.”