Driver with manslaughter convictions refused HGV licence

A4087 Image copyright Google
Image caption A traffic examiner stopped a HGV driven by Mark Connolly on the A4087 Bangor-Caernarfon road in May

A man with manslaughter convictions has been refused a licence to operate heavy goods vehicles by a regulator.

Mark Connolly, 55, of Rhyl, Denbighshire, was convicted over the deaths of four rail workers struck by a runaway trailer in 2004.

He formally applied to operate HGVs in August after being found behind the wheel without such a licence in May.

But the Traffic Commissioner for Wales has rejected the bid in a written decision following a public inquiry.

Commissioner Nick Jones said it had been for Mr Connolly to satisfy him that he was fit to hold an operator's licence during the hearing last month.

However, he "still did not appear to acknowledge the extent of his gross negligence which resulted in four deaths" during the inquiry in Welshpool, Powys, said Mr Jones.

'Falls woefully short'

Mr Connolly was jailed with a second man following a trial after four men were killed when a wagon carrying steel rail tracks hit them as they worked at Tebay, Cumbria, in February 2004.

In May, a traffic examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) stopped a vehicle driven by Mark Connolly in Bangor, Gwynedd, which was not displaying a valid operator's licence, the written decision said.

Mr Connolly had told the DVSA officer that he was using the vehicle to undertake recovery work, which was exempt from operator licensing, it added.

However, the examiner found there were no specific features to identify the vehicle as a recovery vehicle and, therefore, he did need an operator's licence to legally undertake the journey, according to the commissioner's written decision.

It said that prior to being convicted, Mr Connolly had held an operator's licence to cover his work involving HGVs so was aware of requirements.

The commissioner's statement said Mr Connolly said during the inquiry that his business at the time of the fatal accidents involved his operating heavy goods vehicles but claimed his new business was very different in its nature.

The statement said he undertook HGV repairs for several other operators who undertook plant hire work, he employed four people and he was "working hard to climb the ladder again".

Mr Jones concluded: "Reflecting on the totality of the evidence and on my assessment of Mark Connolly, he falls woefully short of the standard required, namely satisfying me on the balance of probabilities that he is fit to hold an operator's licence."