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As soon as I knew myself, I told Police in Antrim that I was concerned that the four uni-directional tyres were fitted back to front and that there was evidence that Carson was speaking to his wife on the phone when the crash happened and she heard it all. I also told him that I had a Report from Bridgestone in Canada that “the driver doesn’t receive the full benefit of wet weather tyre traction when tyres are reverse mounted.” As a result it was decided by someone that Carson would have to be interviewed again.
When Carson was interviewed on 30th December 2003 about the ill fitted tyres and the mobile call, it was done so in the presence of his solicitor, Sgt Mc Bride and Constable Miller, and contemporaneous notes were taken of the conversation. This is a record of the interview. ( I presume that his original statement was read to him.)
“Q. Is there anything you wish to add or alter to this statement?
A. As I said to you before he was that far over on my side that I think I had to steer towards the right. If he’d been less on my side I’d have steered to the hedge.
General discussion about location of debris and point of impact. Discussion of Mr Carson’s actions at time of impact what he remembers seeing and the arrival of persons at the scene to assist him
Q.What speed were you doing at the time of the impact?
A. Being truthful I can’t be absolutely certain, but I wasn’t doing more than, I would say I was doing 50, 52 MPH.
Sgt McBride reads out statement of evidence of witness Three (Police Officer) verbatim to Mr Carson.
Q.Have you any comments?
A. No. I definitely was not doing that speed at any time on that road.
Q. If the conditions were wet, you would agree that a speed of 80/90 mph would be dangerous?
A. I would agree. I wouldn’t be doing any kind of that sort of speed in those conditions. It would be too dangerous.
Sgt McBride reads out statement of evidence of Witness Two ( female teacher).
Q. Have you anything to say?
A. I was definitely not doing that sort of speed definitely not. You shocked me when you mentioned speed. No way was I doing that speed no way. Q. Who services your car?
A. Subaru itself. (Name of Company given). My car was serviced about a week before accident, but I wasn’t given a stamp. Carson offered to supply evidence of this servicing.
Q.Who selected and fitted the tyres?A.
I would say it would have been me. I’ve two sets of tyres, a gold set and a silver set.
Q.Two sets of wheels?
A. Yes. Sometimes I change them over when I clean the car. Discussion of regularly changing the wheels.
Q. We believe the tyres have been rotated round the wheels. Who done that and when?
A.It could have been me, about a month or 6 weeks ago. I’d think it was me when I cleaned it.
Discussion if this could have been done by the Service people.
Extract of statement of Constable Cochrane read to Mr Carson. Explained that he is an AO for Police and examined the vehicle. Extract refers to tyres on Mr Carson’s vehicle and that the tyres are directional
Q. Do you know what directional tyres are?
Q. Further quote from Constable Cochrane. The tyres are back to front. All four of them. Your tyres, as they are fitted, were not able to disperse water as well as designed. Have you any comment?I wouldn’t know.
A. I’ve never heard that before. I have changed back to front before.
Discussion of the effect of changing tyres and their performance on wet roads.
Q.Did you reverse the tyres for any speed advantage?
A. I wouldn’t have any idea of that kind of thing.
Discussion of rest of Constable Cochrane’s statement and performance of these tyres in wet weather and rotation of tyres to reduce wear.
Q.Prior to impact when you were driving where was your mobile phone ?
A. In my pocket, I can’t mind which one to be honest. When I was taken from the car I just fell to the ground.
Q. Was your mobile turned on at the time ?
Q.Did you make or receive any calls prior to the accident?
A.Yes I phoned the baby-minder or did I phone ****** (his wife), I can’t remember. To tell them I was going to lift the child. Prior to that I could have rung a wee girl in Kells.
Q. Were you using your mobile at the time of the accident ?
Q.Were you receiving a call, was the phone ringing or in other way distracted you ?
Q.Was the stereo on in your car ?
A. Yes, 9 times out of 10, yes.
Q.Were you adjusting or in any way moving parts of the stereo.
Q. From the Crosskeenan junction to the location of the accident, there is a very mild right curve in the road. There is a natural tendency when travelling to Antrim to cut across this curve. Is it possible that you could have cut this curve and been on the wrong side of the road when the Nova appeared. You would have both veered to your side of the road in order to avoid each other. Could this have happened?
Constable Miller presents Mr Carson and his solicitor with a map of scene of the accident. Is there any possibility that you cut the centre of the road to take the slight bend in the corner?
A. No I stayed on my side of the road I only turned to the right to avoid the other car.
- General conversation re support for Mr Carson after accident provided.
Mr Carson was then asked if he would like to say anything else at this stage, but he declined to say anything further.
Given Carson’s well-known expert knowledge of cars and motor cycles over many years, his reputation as a mechanical wizard, and his fearsome record for speeding means that the contents of this oral interview is simply a load of nonsense.
From this interview it is clear that Sgt McBride was aware that the collision happened on the Antrim side of the corner but later recorded it as being on the Kells side of the corner. He was also aware that there was a corner but his Report sketch shows only a straight road and he does not refer to the corner in his Report. This omission is repeated on the map prepared the Mapping Office. He was also aware that the tyres would possibly have a detrimental effect on handling in the wet. He also appears to know that unidirectional tyres are sometimes reversed for one reason or another to save wear.
What happened to the map shown to Mr Carson at the interview showing the bend?
Mr Carson makes no mention in this interview of a call to his wife after he was removed from the car. That was to come in his unsolicited statement a few days later.
I did not receive this last statement detailing the interview with Mr Carson until the end of February 2008 and then only by a circuitous route.
As a result of that interview, Carson made another statement which he personally wrote a week later on 5th January 2004. He said:
“Following the visit of the police to my home on 30th December when certain allegations were put to me, I wish to make a further statement to clarify a number of matters. In the first place I am absolutely adamant that my speed was around about 50 mph, perhaps slightly over, perhaps slightly under. I know this quite simply because the weather conditions were very poor indeed. I also want to clarify the time of the accident which according to the police occurred at approximately 2.52pm. My mobile telephone records show that a few minutes after the accident, when I was pulled from the car, my first telephone call was to my wife and that has been recorded at 2.48pm. I therefore assume that the accident occurred around 2.43 pm to 2.44 pm. I was travelling to my daughter’s school which is approximately 3.5 miles away and therefore I had plenty of time to pick her up. There was no need for me to hurry and as I have said before I was aware of the weather at the time. As I explained in my earlier statement when I first noticed the other driver’s vehicle it was on my side of the road. I assumed that the other driver had moved over to my side of the road to avoid an obstruction or something. I simply could not believe when he did not move back to his side of the road but kept coming towards me. I would estimate his speed to be the same as mine, namely 50 mph. I instinctively braked and turned the car to the right in an effort to avoid an impact but it was far too late. The other driver (did) nothing to prevent the accident. I completely refute any suggestion that I was speeding either before the impact or at the time of the impact. The accident was not my fault and there was nothing in my opinion which I could have done to avoid it.”
Carson accepts that he made a call to his wife at 1448 and that it was recorded in his phone records. Sgt McBride knew this but pretended he didn’t know Inspector Ian White knew about it but lied to the Police Ombudsman. Everyone else agreed initially that the crash happened at 1449 or 1450 including all phone and message records recovered by me.
The time of 1448 agreed with my evidence that Carson’s wife was talking to her husband about the children when she heard the crash.
In a later post, I will lay out in detail how a series of police officers were corrupted in the Police Control Room to change the timing of the crash to 1444 to agree with Carson’s second written statement and so protect him from a probable charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
These two supplementary statements were withheld from me and my legal team until February 2008. In June 2008, I visited the garage which carried out the servicing on Carson’s car. It was serviced under warranty on 14th October 2003 some 27 days before the crash. The owner stated that they did not sell or fit tyres although they may have removed a wheel or two to carry out work on a front brake pad. Had his staff found any tyre fitted back to front they would have made it known to the driver and had it remedied. They found no such fault. The tyres were fitted correctly.
For Carson to then say that he may have fitted them himself incorrectly is just beyond rational belief. He would have to fit the tyres onto the loose rims incorrectly and/or then fit all four rims to the car incorrectly. One can safely conclude that he fitted the tyres deliberately back to front for a purpose.
Some three weeks after interviewing Carson, Sgt McBride stated on 24th January 2004 that “The Police found no evidence that the driver was on his mobile phone at the time of the accident and that I hadn’t checked his wife’s mobile or home phone as I wasn’t permitted to do so.”
Just over a year after these statements I had decided to make a formal complaint to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. As part of their investigation my solicitor was asked to put certain questions to the Police. Inspector Ian White replied :-
- Question. It is not disputed that the Subaru was fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE011 unidirectional tyres and that all four tyres were fitted against the required direction of rotation. On 22nd January 2004, the Police stated that the local Bridgestone representative had assured them that the tyres would have had no bearing on the cause of the accident. This is contrary to the views of Bridgestone in Canada and other reputable bodies who have been asked for their views. It is accepted that detailed research may have to be carried out to establish the effect ill fitted tyres might have but the Police Report should include relevant factors such as the condition of the road, weather, adverse camber, angle of corner, change of road surface etc., pending such tests.
- Answer. Police have been informed by a Bridgestone representative that the tyres had no bearing on the cause of the accident. If you wish to follow your assertions I suggest you employ the services of the relevant person you require in Canada to follow this up for you. I do not see the need for any further police investigation.
- Question.It is a fact that a telephone conversation took place between Mr Carson and his wife at or around the time of the accident. Mrs Carson states that her husband phoned her immediately after the accident although Mr Carson does not mention it. The police have stated that they have checked Mr Carson’s mobile account and he had not made a call at the relevant time. Mr”witness 1″ who was one of the first individuals on the scene, indicated that no call was made by Mr Carson and therefore it can be argued that there was very little time for Carson to initiate a call before Mr “witness 1” arrived. When one considers that Mr Carson had been injured as a result of this very serious accident, and in fact had broken both knees and had injured his head as well as other injuries, it is most unlikely that he was able to make the call and therefore it will be necessary to investigate this matter again. To confirm exactly when the telephone call was made i.e. before the accident or just prior to the accident or as the accident happened. No doubt this would have a great bearing on the case once it is established when this phone call was actually made. We believe this is quite an important factor and can therefore not be left in abeyance.
- Answer. Police have already checked the mobile phone account of this person, as agreed by you. No call was made at the relevant time on checking this account. Mrs Carson may state her husband phoned her immediately after the collision, however Mrs Carson was not present at the scene and cannot say when the collision occurred. Therefore no further investigation is necessary.
Not only did I find Inspector White’s replies arrogant and contemptuous in the extreme but he seemed to be cocking a snook at the Ombudsman who was pointedly suggesting a reinvestigation of these points. He was also lying through his teeth. The Police are the appointed investigators of fatal road crashes, but he was suggesting that we should find our own experts. He deliberately ignored inaccurate or false evidence in the Police Report added more and was suggesting that his investigator’s Report was fine and accurate.
If they haven’t already left the Police Service both of these officers should be removed forthwith.
My next post will be a good deal shorter and will try to explain exactly how the crash happened.
Soon after that I will tell you why, if you take my advice, you will never accept the offer of a Family Liaison Officer(FLO) from the PSNI to assist you in your dealings with the Police even if you are completely innocent and on the side of the angels.