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Jail sentences follow truck deaths in Bath.

The owner of a haulage company and a mechanic were jailed after a 32-tonne truck with faulty brakes killed four people, including a four-year-old girl, when it careered down a steep hill in Bath.

Matthew Gordon, 30, and Peter Wood, 55, were each convicted of four counts of manslaughter. Gordon was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, and Wood to five years and three months, after a trial at Bristol crown court.

The jury heard that Potter was following Gordon, the owner of Grittenham Haulage, Wiltshire, down the steep lane when the brakes on the 11-year-old lorry failed.

Adam Vaitilingam QC, prosecuting, described Gordon’s business as “a shambles from start to finish.”

The court was told that Grittenham Haulage, Gloucestershire, did not carry out the recommended brake efficiency tests on the vehicle, which had almost 450,000 miles on the clock at the time of the incident.

The final safety check carried out by Wood was described as “wholly inadequate.”

The judge, Mr Justice Langstaff, told Gordon, of Dauntsey, Wiltshire, and Wood, of Brinkworth, Wiltshire, that the brakes were in an appalling state and the lorry should not have been on the road. “You were not concerned for the public,” he told Gordon.

The lorry driver, Phillip Potter, 20, was cleared by a jury at Bristol Crown Court in a previous hearing.

The child, Mitzi Steady, died and her grandmother, Margaret Rogers, suffered serious injuries when they were hit by the lorry as they crossed the road.

The heavily-loaded vehicle continued down Lansdown Lane and hit a parked car, killing three men inside: Stephen Vaughan, 34, of Swansea, south Wales, and Philip Allen, 52, and Robert Parker, 59, both of Cwmbran, south Wales.

In a victim impact statement, Mitzi’s mother, Emmajade Steady, said the family, including the girl’s two siblings, was struggling to cope.

She said: “I think of Mitzi so often and yearn for her constantly. We are devastated that our bright, lively, beautiful, vibrant, outgoing little girl will never have her first day at school, learn to read, have best friends to giggle and play with.“

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