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Van driver accused of causing off-duty PC’s death by careless driving appears in court

Graham Ellison outside Carlisle Crown Court this morning

A VAN driver has appeared in court accused of causing an off-duty Cumbrian police officer’s death by careless driving in the south of the county.

Graham Ellison, 59, faces one charge which arises out of a collision which occurred on the A683 at Middleton on the afternoon of September 16, 2019.

PC Oliver Evans

This involved a Peugeot Bipper Royal Mail delivery van and a Triumph motorcycle being ridden by 27-year-old Oli Evans, a police constable who was off-duty and pronounced dead at the scene. Police said at the time the van driver was not injured.

At Carlisle Crown Court this morning (TUES), Ellison pleaded not guilty to a charge which alleges he drove the Peugeot without due care and attention, and thereby caused the death of PC Evans.

Ellison, of Back Lane, Warton, near Carnforth, will now go on trial on front of a jury at the crown court. This hearing, estimated around four days and likely to feature expert witness evidence, is listed to start on July 26, 2021.

Ellison – represented in court today by barrister Colette Renton – was told a short pre-trial review will take place at the court on March 26, and in the meantime he was granted unconditional bail by Judge Nicholas Barker.

He was also reminded by Judge Barker of the requirement to serve a statement outlining details of his defence and areas of the prosecution case with which he disagrees.

Following the death of PC Evans, who was based at the force’s mobile support group at Kendal, Cumbria’s Chief Constable, Michelle Skeer, led the tributes. “Oli was a dedicated, professional officer who was well-liked by his colleagues,” she said. “Any death within the police family hits us all hard but will have particular impact on those who knew and worked closely alongside Oli.”

His family spoke of being “heartbroken” by the tragedy, and described him as a “caring, loving and loyal individual who was a true delight to be around”.

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