Scotland

Bus driver on trial accused of killing Rangers fan in crash

Ryan Baird Image copyright PoliceScotland/RyanRowe
Image caption Ryan Baird died in the crash as fans made their way to the Rangers v Partick Thistle game

A Rangers fan has told a jury he was thrown through a window after a supporters' bus overturned at a roundabout.

John Burns, 63, from Sanquhar, was giving evidence at the trial of bus driver Callum Phillips.

Mr Phillips, 49, from Dalbeattie, denies killing Ryan Baird, 39, by dangerous driving on 1 October 2016.

The crash occurred at Crossroads roundabout, near Kilmarnock, as fans travelled to a home game in Glasgow.

The match at Ibrox was against Glasgow rivals Partick Thistle.

Mr Burns told the High Court in Glasgow he was taking a six-year-old boy to his first Rangers game when they got on the bus at Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway.

The witness said that during the journey the driver had to double back at Cumnock to collect two passengers who had not been picked up.

'Make up time'

Prosecutor Richard Goddard asked Mr Burns: "Did you notice any difficulty about the driver's style of driving?"

The witness replied: "He seemed to get more erratic as if he was trying to make up time. He was right up behind cars.

"I wasn't too happy about the driving, but there wasn't much I could do about it."

Mr Burns told the jury he became worried as the coach with 37 passengers on board got to within 20 to 30 yards of the Crossroads roundabout, south of Kilmarnock.

He added: "I said to myself, no way is this bus going round the roundabout. It was going too fast to take the roundabout."

The witness , who was sitting about five rows behind the driver, said that he grabbed hold of the six-year-old boy and held on to him.

Mr Burns added: "The bus seemed to swing. The next thing I remember is branches of trees hitting the windscreen and I was thrown through the window on the passenger side."

The court was told that Mr Burns' back was covered in cuts from broken glass. The boy was not injured, but still suffers nightmares.

Earlier a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury that he was on the Nith Valley Rangers supporters' bus when it crashed.

Image copyright Mike Gibbons/Spindrift
Image caption Bus driver Callum Phillips denies the charges

He said: "When we approached the roundabout, the bus was shaking. The driver was approaching it quite fast. I thought, at that speed, going round the roundabout was not feasible."

The teenager said there was "a lot of rumbling and shaking" and then the bus hit a lamp post before landing on its side on the banking.

He managed to crawl out and suffered scarring to his forehead as he was dragged along, half out the window, before the bus came to a halt.

The schoolboy added: "The window was smashed and I managed to crawl out. Everyone was shocked.

"People were trapped under the bus. I saw someone stuck and covered in blood."

Other fans on the bus are also said to have been injured.

Mr Phillips is alleged to have driven the bus at "excessive speed" on various roads at Thornhill, Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, New Cumnock, Cumnock and Mauchline.

Prosecutors claim he lost control of the bus at Crossroads roundabout, causing it to skid then strike a kerb, a drain cover and a lamp post before coming to rest on its side on the grass verge.

Mr Phillips also faces two other charges of driving dangerously at the wheel of a bus. He denies all the charges against him.

The trial before Lady Stacey continues.

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