Coventry & Warwickshire

Stratford shop crash: Ex-magistrate 'thought accelerator was brake'

A former magistrate drove into a coffee shop, injuring several people, because he mistook his accelerator for the brake pedal, a court has heard.

Alan Marks left one shopper with a traumatic brain injury and another victim with multiple broke bones.

Prosecutors allege the 65-year-old panicked and pressed the wrong pedal.

But Mr Marks, of Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, blames the crash on a mechanical default in his Volkswagen Touran. He denies dangerous driving.

'Slightly complacent'

Prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said CCTV footage showed no brake lights were illuminated prior to the crash in Henley Street on 23 April 2012.

"The Crown say the most likely cause is this - Mr Marks put his foot on the accelerator, panicked and didn't control the car properly," he said.

"He pressed harder and harder on the accelerator, probably thinking it was the brake.

"This accident, the Crown say, was caused by Mr Marks being slightly complacent that day about his control of the vehicle."

The court heard the needle of the Touran's speedometer was found stuck at about 60mph after the crash.

Investigators tried to access the car's electronic control unit but found it had been "virtually destroyed" along with the front braking and suspension systems.

Mr Marks, who was allowed to sit in the well of the court because he uses a wheelchair, told police he had been to a Rotarian lunch at Stratford's Falcon Hotel and was intending to visit a friend nearby.

He said his car "just took off" and he had steered the vehicle as well he could.

The trial continues.

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