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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Selby crash driver's jail release
Gary Hart leaving prison
Gary Hart has served half his five-year sentence
The Land Rover driver responsible for the Selby rail crash which claimed 10 lives has been released from jail.

Gary Hart, 39, of Strubby, Lincolnshire, served half of his five-year sentence for causing the crash at Great Heck in February 2001.

Hart applied for parole in January and left North Sea Camp prison near Boston, Lincolnshire, on Monday.

Road safety charity Brake led criticism of his release, saying it was appalled by the leniency of sentence.

Hart's Land Rover and trailer plunged off the M62 motorway onto the East Coast main line near the village of Great Heck on 28 February 2001 after he fell asleep at the wheel.

Ten people were killed and more than 70 people injured in the ensuing collision between a GNER express and a coal train.

Hart was convicted of 10 counts of causing death by dangerous driving at Leeds Crown Court in December 2001.

He was sentenced under British justice, but it just doesn't seem fair
Judith Cairncross, victim's relative

Mr Justice Mackay described the rail crash as "the worst driving-related incident in the UK in recent years".

Brake's campaigns officer Simon Collister said: "Brake is outraged that Gary Hart is being released after only serving two-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence.

"His tired driving caused the Selby Rail Disaster and that caused the deaths of 10 people.

"It is an insult to the families that he is being released after two-and-a-half years."

Last month, relatives of those killed in the disaster were informed of Hart's impending release from prison.

Release 'heartbreaking'

Mary Dunn, whose husband Steve was the train driver killed in the accident, said Hart's early release would shock survivors and the relatives of those who died.

"My children, Andrew, James and myself are trying to rebuild our lives," she said.

"We do so with the understanding that no amount of anger or bitterness will alter the fact."

She added that the release had gone ahead before civil proceedings had been concluded.

Judith Cairncross, whose brother Raymond Robson from Whitley Bay, Tyneside, died in the incident, said Hart had devastated their lives.

"To know that he is going to be out and about is heartbreaking. It brings back all our memories.

"Yes, he was sentenced under British justice, but it just doesn't seem fair.

"He's served two-and-a-half years of his five-year sentence, but five years isn't enough for what he's done."

Hart was also banned by the court from driving for five years.


SEE ALSO:
Selby crash driver to be released
19 Jun 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Selby crash driver on day release
20 Jul 03  |  North Yorkshire
Selby crash driver's appeal date
12 Mar 03  |  England


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