Glasgow & West Scotland

Jury urged to convict Rangers bus crash driver over fatal smash

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 prosecutor has urged a jury to convict a bus driver of causing the death of a Rangers fan.

Callum Phillips, 49, from Dalbeattie, denies killing Ryan Baird by dangerous driving at the Crossroads Roundabout, near Kilmarnock, on 1 October, 2016

Mr Baird, 39, from Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway, died at the scene from injures to his chest and abdomen.

He was travelling to Glasgow with the Nith Valley Rangers supporters' club to watch his team play Partick Thistle.

In his closing speech at the High Court in Glasgow, prosecutor Richard Goddard said: "The bus came round the roundabout like a rollercoaster and that was seconds before Ryan Baird lost his life.

"The right thing to do, having heard all the evidence, is to convict Callum Phillips of causing death by dangerous driving."

Mr Goddard said passengers on the bus spoke of Mr Phillips' driving being "fast and erratic" and said as they approached the roundabout, they knew the bus was not going to make it.

The prosecutor told the jury that one passenger said that Mr Phillips was "flying down the road with his foot down."

No brake defects

Mr Goddard added: "He was driving at 63mph for substantial periods of the journey and at one point reached 73mph.

"Callum Phillips chose to drive his coach at speed and erratically in a way which caused passengers to fear for their safety."

In evidence, Mr Phillips claimed that the brakes on the bus were not working as he approached the roundabout.

But Mr Goddard told the jury that experts who examined them found no defects.

Mr Phillips also admitted in court that he had not looked at his speedometer throughout the journey from Dumfries towards the roundabout.

Mr Goddard added: "When a roundabout is approaching and you are driving a bus with 37 passengers and don't know what speed you are doing, it is a recipe for disaster."

The prosecutor invited the jury to find that Mr Phillips' driving that day was below that expected of a competent and careful driver and to convict him.

The defence counsel for Mr Phillips invited the jury to acquit his client.

Simon Gilbride said one witness heard Mr Phillips say he had no brakes and "I don't know why he would say it if it wasn't right".

In his speech to the jury, Mr Gilbride said: "Is that not the very essence of the case? Why on earth would somebody say that if it wasn't true? If there wasn't something wrong with the brakes?"

The trial before judge Lady Stacey continues.

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