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Rangers supporters' bus crash driver 'blamed the brakes'

Callum Phillips denies killing 39-year-old Ryan Baird by dangerous driving Photo: ITV Border

The driver of a Rangers supporters' bus which crashed on a roundabout killing a fan blamed the brakes when he was interviewed by police, a court was told today.

Bus driver Callum Phillips told police: “The brakes weren't working. I pressed them, there was nothing.”

He was asked during the interview, which took place seven months after the crash by Detective Constable Scott Barr: “Do you think driver error caused the crash,” and Phillips replied: “I would have said it was the brakes. I wouldn't have said it was me.”

Phillips told the police officers that he had successfully negotiated the roundabout hundreds of times.

DC Barr was giving evidence at the trial of bus driver Callum Phillips who denies killing 39-year-old Ryan Baird by dangerous driving.

Phillips, 49, from Dalbeattie, Dumfries, is alleged to have caused the Nith Valley Rangers supporters bus to crash at the Crossroads Roundabout, near Kilmarnock, on October 1, 2016.

Mr Baird, from Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire, who was trapped in the wreckage, died at the scene from injures to his chest and abdomen.

39-year-old Ryan Baird Credit: ITV Border

He and 36 fellow Rangers fans were travelling to Glasgow for a home match against Partick Thistle.

During the police interview Phillips was asked about the fact the bus tachograph showed that on his journey along the A76 he was driving at 62mph for some time and at one point, 15 minutes before the crash, was doing 73mph.

He told the officers: “I believed the maximum speed on that bus was 62mph. I don't think I was doing 73mph.

The jury has heard that the speed limit on that road for buses is 50mph.

Phillips was then asked what speed he thought he was doing and said: “I reckon I'm doing 50 at that roundabout. I tried to press the brakes. I pressed the brakes and it didn't work.”

DS Barr asked Phillips : “Why do you think the bus did not stop,” and he replied: “No brakes. It was not slowing me down like it should have.”

Prosecutor Richard Goddard asked DC Barr: “Did Mr Phillips, who has been driving for 27 years, say to you he was doing 50mph 100 feet from the roundabout and he was not able to give a figure for the braking distance,” and the officer replied: “That's correct.”

Mr Goddard then said: “He was recorded as going at 73mph and he said he thought the bus wouldn't go at more than 62mph,” and DC Barr replied: “Yes.'

The prosecutor then asked: “Did he ever seem aware he had been driving at the speeds he had been,” and DC Barr responded: “No.”

The trial before judge Lady Stacey continues.

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