Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 21:04 UK

Dustbin lorry death driver guilty

Auvryn Scarlett
Auvryn Scarlett had a seizure at the wheel

The driver of a New York bin lorry who knocked down and killed a couple from Somerset has been found guilty on two charges of second-degree murder.

Jacqueline Timmins and Andrew Hardie were on a Valentine's holiday when they were hit by the out-of-control lorry.

Driver Auvryn Scarlett, 53, who failed to tell bosses he was epileptic and had refused his medication, denied murder.

The court heard he suffered a seizure and careered onto the pavement killing Ms Timmins, 47, and Mr Hardie, 48.

It is not every day you see someone die - today you will
Assistant district attorney Chris Ryan

Scarlett was also found guilty of one charge of assault. Sentencing has been adjourned until 15 October.

Ms Timmins had bought tickets to New York for herself and her partner Mr Hardie, originally from Plymouth, as a Valentine treat.

Scarlett's truck mounted a kerb near Madison Square Garden in the south side of New York, in February 2008, killing the couple from Yeovil.

Paul Timmins said the guilty verdict on second-degree murder was a hollow victory

Earlier in the trial, the families left the courtroom in tears as the jurors were shown new CCTV footage of the moment the couple were killed.

'Russian roulette'

Summing up the prosecution case at New York Supreme Court, assistant district attorney Chris Ryan said Scarlett had shown a complete disregard for the safety of others.

Driving six days a week for the refuse haulage company, he knew he could have a seizure at any time "on some of the busiest streets on earth".

He said: "It is like playing a game of Russian roulette, only instead of pointing the gun at yourself, you point it at other people. And if someone dies - that is murder."

Scarlett's lawyer Michael Biniakewitz said his client "is not a monster, he is not a murderer".

He said there was no dispute his client failed to take his medication but it was not because he wanted to go out and hurt someone.

"For the prosecution to prove murder, they have to prove my client was depraved and had a wicked mindset," he said.

"That is not the case. He made a mistake which will haunt him for the rest of his life."

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