Lorry That Overturned Causing Death Of Former Soldier Was Not Roadworthy, Inquest Hears

Expert Lawyers Say Case Highlights Devastating Consequences Of Not Maintaining Company Vehicles


The wife of a former soldier who died after a lorry he was driving overturned has spoken of her heartache following an inquest which heard the vehicle was not roadworthy and had ineffective brakes.

Adrian Pickard, from Catterick, served three tours of Iraq and a tour of Afghanistan as a Corporal, but left the armed forces in 2010 to avoid risking his life in war zones and to spend more time with his wife Kelly and son Jordan, 12.

Tragically, the 29-year-old truck driver died less than two years later from serious internal injuries caused by his lorry tipping onto its side as he negotiated a bend near Otley when delivering concrete in February 2012.

Now, Kelly has instructed workplace injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to ensure her husband’s safety by his employers, Lightwater Quarries, who owned and were responsible for maintaining the lorry Adrian would regularly drive.

During an inquest into Adrian’s death which concluded at Leeds Coroner’s Court on 20 November, coroner Melanie Williamson recorded a narrative verdict after hearing evidence that the service brake, secondary brake and parking brakes did not meet the legal requirements to pass an MOT.

Lightwater Quarries confirmed changes to company vehicles will be carried out with immediate effect and the coroner made a recommendation that the company also ensure all goods vehicles should be weighed before they leave the premises to ensure they are safe.

Claire Newstead, a specialist workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, is representing the family.

Expert Opinion
What happened to Adrian highlights the tragic consequences of employers not ensuring company vehicles are safely maintained or fit to be on the road.

“This sadly cost Adrian his life but it also jeopardised the safety of other road users. We welcome confirmation from Lightwater Quarries that changes will be carried out with immediate effect but hope this case acts as a reminder to similar companies across the country to protect the safety of their workers when they are out on the road.

“We will now continue to work on behalf of Kelly to help her gain further answers about her husband’s death and ensure she sees justice for her devastating loss.”
Claire Newstead, Partner

Adrian was taken to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) by air ambulance following the incident on 17 February last year where he was diagnosed with serious internal injuries. Despite undergoing treatment, his condition deteriorated and he died in St James’ Hospital of multi-organ failure nine days later.

Kelly, who married Adrian in 2008, said: “When Ady left the army I thought he would be safer but that clearly wasn’t the case.

“It was incredibly hard to sit through the evidence at the inquest and hear that the vehicle he was driving was not even fit to be on the road.

“We all still miss him so much but nothing can bring him back. I just hope that what happened to him serves as a warning to all companies who use heavy goods vehicles to ensure that they are road worthy and safe for the person expected to drive them.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, paramedics and staff at LGI and St James’ who worked so hard to try and save Ady’s life. They were fantastic.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to accident at work claims.