Cars seen “absolutely flying” moments before a fatal crash, jury hears

A jury has heard two cars were seen “absolutely flying” moments before a “catastrophic” crash which claimed the life of a 23-year-old Wigton man following what is alleged to have been a “ludicrously high speed” road dual.

Steven Parker lost control of his powerful BMW 335D X Drive while travelling closely behind pal Liam John Dixon’s modified Vauxhall Corsa westbound on the town bypass, between the A596 Spittal Farm and Kirkbride junctions, at around 4-50pm on February 3, 2018.

The BMW spun sideways, clipped the Corsa, left the road and demolished two trees Mr Parker suffering fatal injuries.

Dixon, 27, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. He denies one charge alleging he caused Mr Parker’s death by dangerous driving.

Jurors have heard Dixon - who escaped injury - and Mr Parker and were friends with a “shared interest in fast and powerful cars”.

Opening the case to jurors, prosecutor Stuart Neale alleged that at the time of the tragedy, the pair were “engaged in a duel, a chase, or a burnout”, travelling “possibly more than 118mph but certainly at a minimum of 100mph” on the 50mph limited stretch of the A596.

Mr Parker’s BMW, said Mr Neale, then “pirouetted in a catastrophic crash” that claimed his life and resulted in one passenger suffering a brain injury, a fractured eye socket, and a fractured jaw.

Mr Neale alleged: “The Crown say that to drive at over 100mph as close as these two (drivers) were is, by itself, dangerous and, without any more, the fact that driving in that manner caused the death of Steven Parker makes the defendant guilty.

“However, the Crown go further and say that what was happening here was more, because what was going on here was a ludicrously high speed joust, chase, burnout from which it would be obvious to any careful, competent and prudent driver that death was a likely consequence.”

Liam Dixon

Eyewitness Barbara Brown told jurors how she turned off the A596 into her nearby home by shortly before the crash. “I looked back because I got a fright, and saw two cars absolutely flying past,” she recalled.

“How close were they to each other?” asked Mr Neale.

“About half a car length,” Mrs Brown replied.

Asked to describe the fatal incident, Dixon, of Throstle Avenue, Wigton, had initially told police: “I honestly don’t know exactly what happened as it was a blur.”

Mr Neale alleged to jurors that in subsequent interviews under caution, “the defendant tried to “put the blame” for the collision on Mr Parker.

In his opening address, Mr Neale told the jury: “These cases are emotional for all parties. It is important that you put aside emotion. You have taken an oath to try the case by the evidence, not emotion. It is evidence that matters.”

The trial, which is expected to last several days, continues.