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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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South Cumbria garden centre boss faces trial over collusion

THE boss of one of South Cumbria’s biggest garden centres has appeared in court accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in relation to a drink-driving charge.

Thomas Richard Hayes, 45, director of Hayes Garden World, Ambleside, appeared before a judge at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday with another man.

The prosecution says the pair colluded over who was driving a luxury Porsche when it crashed near Kendal 18 months ago.

During yesterday’s 40-minute hearing Hayes, of Crook Road, Kendal, pleaded not guilty to the charge that between November 20, 2010 and July 24, 2012 he conspired “to mislead the police and the courts” as to the identity of the driver of the Porsche when it was involved in an accident.

Derek Henderson, 57, from Woodbank Terrace, Endmoor, who Hayes employed as a part-time contract worker, pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

The charge reflects their alleged actions following the accident on the afternoon of Sunday, November 21, 2010, when the Porsche nearly hit another car before crashing on to its roof in Hollins Road, Burneside.

Hayes had claimed that it was Henderson who had been driving, and he had only been sitting in the passenger seat

Following a court case in July the Honorary Recorder of Carlisle, Paul Batty QC, ordered the details of the case to be sent to the director of public prosecutions so that Hayes and Henderson could be investigated for allegedly conspiring to mislead the court.

The prosecution at yesterday’s hearing in Carlisle allege that Hayes was driving the car at the time of the accident, though Hayes continues to claim Henderson was.

The two men were remanded on unconditional bail and will go on trial on January 13 next year.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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