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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbria garden centre boss Porsche crash trial - day three

THE trial of a Cumbria garden centre boss, accused of lying to police after writing off his Porsche, entered its third day yesterday.

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Thomas Hayes

The case for the defence in the trial of Thomas Hayes, 44, managing director of Hayes Garden World at Ambleside was heard.

Hayes, of Crook Lane, Kendal, is accused of lying to police after claiming one of his contract workers had been driving the luxury car while he sat in the passenger seat.

Derek Henderson, 57, of Woodbank Terrace, Endmoor – who worked for Hayes and backed up his story that he had not been driving – is in the dock with him.

Both have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice, insisting that they were telling the truth when they said Hayes had not been driving.

The court heard the Porsche had narrowly missed an oncoming car before hitting the kerb and overturning in Hollins Lane, Kendal.

On Monday, Mr Brendan Burke, prosecuting, said Hayes had lied and persuaded Henderson to back up those lies – because he was “fearing the serious consequences of driving while not far off four times the legal limit.”

Mr Burke added: “Whether it was with the inducement of money, promises of more work, better work or whatever his influence allowed, he needed the involvement of Mr Henderson to keep him out of prison.”

“The essence of the conspiracy is that there was an agreement – and they carried out that agreement to the best of their ability.”

Witnesses saw Hayes crawling from the wreckage, but there was no sign of anyone else having been in the car with him, the court heard.

It was only later that Hayes said he had been in the car with Henderson, who was driving because he knew he himself was unfit to do so.

Hayes said Mr Henderson’s own van was so filthy he refused to get in it, so he insisted on using his Porsche instead.

He told police that after it crashed he was so angry with Henderson he told him to “f*** off”, which was why the other man was not there when rescuers arrived.

The trial is expected to last for several days.

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