Page last updated at 17:54 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Two jailed over bus crash deaths

Robert Oughton and John Lote
Robert Oughton and John Lote received jail sentences at Leeds Crown Court

A coach driver and his business partner have been jailed after one of their buses crashed killing a married couple.

Driver Robert Oughton, 53, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison. His partner John Lote, 61, was given a three-year term.

The coach, which was carrying 45 children and parents, suffered brake failure on the A64 near Scarborough and hit a car, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Paul and Deborah Clements, of Rawmarsh, South Yorkshire, were killed instantly.

The court heard how Oughton, a driver for Staffordshire-based 1-4-You Airports and Coach Travel, had been driving a marching band to a competition in Filey at the time of the incident on 21 September.

'Brace position'

Paul and Deborah Clements, aged 40 and 39, are survived by their 16-year-old son, who was not travelling in the car at the time of the crash.

Richard Mansell QC, prosecuting, described how the coach had taken a wrong turn and ended up driving on a B-road towards Saxton Hill near Scarborough. The road, which has warning signs and an escape lane, is well-known locally for its steep gradient.

Oughton continued on the road, which contained a series of steep hills, despite someone on the coach urging him to turn around, Mr Mansell said.

The court heard how the brakes on the 20-year-old coach failed as they began the steep descent down Saxton Hill.

Deborah and Paul Clements
Deborah and Paul Clements died in the crash in September

"He [Oughton] warned people to adopt the brace position," Mr Mansell said.

He added: "At one point he was standing and was pumping the brakes hard".

The coach went through a red traffic light at the bottom of the hill on the A64 and hit Mr and Mrs Clement's Volkswagen Passat. The couple were killed instantly.

Oughton and Lote, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, both admitted manslaughter due to gross negligence at a previous hearing. Oughton also admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard that the coach had not been kept in a road-worthy condition and the braking system had not been checked.

The company had failed to put the vehicle in for its six-weekly checks twice in the months before the crash, Mr Mansell said.

Oughton was also sentenced to 30 months in jail for manslaughter.

Judge Peter Collier said this should run concurrently with a five years and three months sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.

After the hearing Mr Clement's mother, Pat, said: "We miss them, I don't think we'll ever get over this properly.

"We're happy with the sentence. Whatever sentence was given wasn't going to bring them back."

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