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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 18:00 GMT
Selby families hear 999 call
Gary and Elaine Hart
Mr Hart dialled 999 seconds before the rail crash
The jury in the case of a man accused of causing the deaths of 10 people in the Selby rail crash has heard a recording of the first two 999 calls he made.

As the recording was played, almost all the relatives and survivors at Leeds Crown Court cried or were close to tears.

The train's just gone straight through the front of my Land Rover

Gary Hart's 999 call
They also heard a statement by the co-driver of a coal train who described how an express train ploughed into his cab, killing his colleague.

Motorist Gary Hart, 37, from Strubby in Lincolnshire, made the emergency calls after his Land Rover plunged down an embankment and ended up on the East Coast mainline, where it was hit by a GNER train.

Shock expressed

The jury heard the operator at North Yorkshire Police say "Oh my God" after Mr Hart told her there was a train coming towards his Land Rover, and she heard the sound of screeching wheels.

Emergency services survey the wreckage
The GNER express hit a coal train
Mr Hart was then heard to swear and say: "The train's just gone straight through the front of my Land Rover."

Some relatives held hands over the rows of seats in the public gallery while the tape was played, and one man sat with his head in his hands.

The operator who took the call, Sarah Pratt, was seen to wipe away a tear.

In another statement read to the court, train co-driver Andrew Hill told how he had been in the cab of a locomotive laden with 16 coal wagons when it was hit by the GNER express.

Mr Hill said Stephen Dunn, who died in the crash, was in the cab with him and was driving the locomotive.

Last memory

He said the first thing he noticed in the run-up to the accident was a red light in the distance and a "yellowy coloured flash".

Stephen Dunn
Train driver Stephen Dunn was killed in the crash

Mr Hill said he then saw the high-speed train coming towards him and shouted to Mr Dunn: "Steve, get the brakes on."

As the GNER service got closer Mr Hill said he shouted to Mr Dunn: "Steve, get out."

Soon after he "saw the blue livery of the train fill the whole view out of our cab."

He added: "It was within touching distance. The last memory I have in the cab was the engine being thrown about."

PC Gary Robinson, the first officer to arrive at the scene, told the court he saw Mr Hart standing behind a barrier waving his arms in the air.

He took him to his police car where Mr Hart told the officer he thought had had suffered a "blow out".

Text message

Mr Hart denies 10 charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

The prosecution allege Mr Hart fell asleep at the wheel because he spent five hours chatting to a woman on a telephone the night before the crash.

This has been confirmed by the woman, Kristeen Panter, who had met Mr Hart via an internet dating agency.

Referring to the morning of the disaster she said she had received a text message from Gary stating he had been involved in an accident but that he was "all right".

The hearing was adjourned until Friday.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Families of the victims... chose to remain and listen"
The BBC's Jane Hughes
"This is the most dramatic moment of the trial so far"
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