The trial of Richard Bromley, who is accused of causing the death of his 19-year-old girlfriend Claudia Williams in a car crash in Guilden Sutton on June 24, 2013, resumes at Warrington Crown Court this morning.
The 23-year-old from Daniell Way in Great Boughton denies the charge of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Our reporter Mike Fuller is at the court and will be providing live updates throughout the 12th day of the trial.
The Richard Bromley trial has finished for the day. The judge will begin his summing up in the morning before sending the jury out to consider its verdict. Thank you for following our live updates throughout the day.
Jury sent home
The jury have been sent home for the day. Judge Flewitt will sum up the case for them in the morning.
The defence concludes by saying there is no evidence careless driving caused the crash. Therefore careless driving did not cause the ‘tragic’ death of Claudia Williams. Mr Lucas says the prosecution has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Failed to disprove case
In summary Mr Lucas said: “Not only have the Crown failed to disprove Mr Bromley’s case, but the more evidence they gained supported what he said. We suggest alcohol is just not relevant, there’s no evidence to suggest it caused the crash. Speed is simply not relevant. Even if he was travelling above 30mph once the car left the road there’s nothing Richard Bromley could have done to avoid hitting the tree. Is there any evidence to suggest the argument caused the crash? None whatsoever.”
Mr Lucas said: “The Crown had criticised Richard Bromley for not admitting fault. In our submission, why should he admit that if alcohol had no part to play and it was caused by the push to his arm.”
No safe evidence
Mr Lucas said: “There’s no safe evidence Mr Bromley was driving above the speed limit. Even if he was it must’ve been marginal.”
All bets are off
The defence has called into question whether the crash measurements on Bromley’s damaged car were all taken from the right place. Mr Lucas said: “I accept a single measurement being wrong will not make a significant difference, but if all 17 are wrong that’s not a valid exercise at all. There must be a reasonable doubt given PC Kevin Sweeney’s evidence. If they are wrong, all bets are off.”
Speed figures are 'guestimate'
Mr Lucas says the figures provided by the prosecution about how fast Bromley’s Vauxhall Corsa was travelling are ‘no better than a guesstimate’. He states there is no way to ‘validate or quantify’ whether they are accurate.
Alcohol not relevant
The defence says the issue of alcohol is not relevant to other parts of the prosecution case. Referring to his jigsaw analogy, Mr Lucas says it is ‘like a piece of grass or a little bit of sky’.
Mr Lucas said: “Is there any evidence in this case Richard Bromley was impaired by alcohol? We suggest there wasn’t.”
Mr Lucas has resumed his closing speech. He said: “If you believe the result provided by the sample you have to take into account the fact it was taken almost three and a half hours after the crash. You have to make allowance for the fact Richard Bromley had consumed food.” He adds the experts agree there is a possibility if you back calculate that the defendant could have provided a reading as low as 74mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.
The defence is running through the reasons they believe the blood sample was unlawfully obtained and also potentially not accurate. Judge Neil Flewitt QC has allowed the jury a short break.
Everything became a blur
Mr Lucas said: “We heard Nigel Williams say everything became a blur once he was told his daughter Claudia had passed away and he found it difficult to remember what happened. We suggest the same thing happened to Richard Bromley.”
Piece by piece
Mr Lucas says Bromley has not built his case to make up the jigsaw and the prosecution has not proven anything which fits outside the defendant’s explanation. He said: “He has given his account and the prosecution case has confirmed it piece by piece.”
Regarding Bromley saying he ‘f***ed up’ to a witness in the aftermath of the crash, Mr Lucas says it is important to place this into context. He said: “If said at all this was very shortly after the a serious crash. It’s not an admission. It’s capable of a number of different interpretations. It’s a fragment of a larger exchange, essentially an ambiguous remark.”
Mr Lucas urges the jury to put together the pieces of the ‘jigsaw’ to get the full picture of what happened.
Push to the arm
The defence said: “It is the defence case this crash was caused by a push to the arm which could not have been foreseen by a competent, safe driver so there’s no question of careless driving in this case. It was not caused by an argument, speed has nothing to do with it and also alcohol has nothing to do with it.”
Mr Lucas said: “There’s no doubt this is a tragic case, distressing for everyone involved and all parties concerned will be deeply affected by this case. Whatever your verdict it won’t alter the fact Claudia Williams died as a result of this collision.”
Defence closing speech
Parties are returning to court to resume the trial at 2pm. Defence counsel Phillip Lucas QC is due to give his closing speech to the jury. Bromley, in a black suit and black tie as he has been throughout the trial, takes his place quietly in the dock.
Court has now broken for lunch.
Prosecution speech closes
Mr Myers’ speech has come to a close. He said Bromley’s defence does not justify his actions on the night of the crash. He urges the jury to find the defendant guilty.
What he said to witness
The prosecution said: “Before the ambulance came, before the police came, before the sirens turned up Richard Bromley told Lauren Edge (a witness who tended to him after the accident) that he ‘f***ed up’. You might think that’s quite significant. He didn’t say that to the police officer did he? I wonder why not?”
Would not admit fault
Bromley says Miss Williams shoved his arm which caused the car to jolt to the left. Mr Myers said: “Claudia wasn’t stupid. What a ridiculous thing to do. Richard Bromley himself said this was very out of character. What a coincidence that this happens on the night he has been drink driving, was speeding and caught up in an argument. None of that excuses Richard Bromley from driving without care and attention. He has stuck with that push, he would not admit any fault even down to the last part.”
Argument reached its peak
Mr Myers said: “It’s significant that the point at which this crash happened is the point at which the argument between these two young people just about reached its peak. It’s strange that Mr Bromley should play it down so much now when the first thing he said after the crash was ‘we were arguing’. Getting upset, voices raised. It was not a very nice argument and he was caught up in it.”
There has been a lot of evidence from crash investigators from both the prosecution and the defence. Mr Myers says it shows Bromley was driving above the 30mph limit on School Lane at the time his Vauxhall Corsa left the road. The prosecution said: “Arguing, drinking, was he really doing thirty?”
Mr Myers says dealing with carelessness in this case comes down to three factors. He said: “There’s the alcohol, there’s driving too fast and there’s not paying sufficient attention to the road.”
Mr Myers says there are number of instances which bring in to question ‘how frank Richard Bromley is on the really important questions’.
Alcohol important to the case
The prosecution says Bromley knows alcohol is important to their case. Mr Myers said: “Just think about his evidence. He insisted even if he could put the clock back he would not change anything about what he personally did that night. He is insistent he would not drink less, that’s staggering you might think. Mr Bromley can’t be the only man in the world who is immune to the effect of alcohol.”
Ifs and buts
Mr Myers said: “Bear in mind things like this. Richard Bromley had the presence of mind almost minutes after the crash to get his defence in to PC Broad (and tell him Miss Williams had shoved his arm). He understood what was happening. Don’t allow for straightforward matters to become overcomplicated, there’s always going to be ifs and buts.”
Regarding the blood sample taken from Bromley at hospital in the hours after the crash, Mr Myers said it was ‘one of the many cases’ where the defendant says he ‘can’t remember’. Mr Myers said: “It does seem he does remember some of the details which benefit his case. Whatever his state of upset after receiving the news Claudia had passed away, it’s quite hard to understand why there should be such a whole scale memory loss of just about everything. Whether he is being frank or not his insistence doesn’t mean you reject the prosecution evidence.”