Leeds binman ‘backed wagon into telegraph pole and killed colleague’

The driver of a bin lorry reversed into a telegraph pole in Leeds, causing it to fall on to a colleague and kill him, a court has heard.

Ronald Fieldhouse, 51, was driving the truck when it mounted the pavement in Beeston Park Terrace, and hit the pole, causing it to fall and strike David Nelson as he worked at the back of the vehicle.

Fieldhouse, of Grange Avenue, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, denies one charge of causing death by careless driving and is on trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a severe head trauma in the incident on April 19 last year.

The court was told Mr Nelson, 56, was known as a banksman, whose job was to throw rubbish into the back of the truck and to help guide the vehicle as it reversed down the road.

The jury was told the cab of the truck was fitted with a monitor which showed the reversing area of the vehicle.

Heather Gilmore, prosecuting, told the jury: “The view from the monitor was so wide, when the wagon was mounting the pavement it was possible for the pole to be seen by the driver.

“The defendant should have been able to see the pole. The Crown say the wagon shouldn’t have been on the pavement in the first place.

“There was plenty of room on the road for the defendant to reverse the bin wagon down the road without coming into contact with the parked vehicles.”

Miss Gilmore told the jury a colleague of Mr Nelson’s would tell the court there was no need for the refuse truck to mount the pavement.

She added: “By reversing on to the pavement, in the way he did, the defendant drove carelessly and he also failed to stop when his banksman disappeared from view.”

The court was told the defendant had undergone safety training and how to work with a banksman.

Local resident Sharon Connor told the court she heard a very loud bang as she woke her children up.

She told the jury: “It felt like the house shook. I looked at the children and said ‘what was that?’

“I carried on opening the curtains and looked outside. I saw the telegraph pole lying on the floor and saw the binman - he was just falling to the grass.”

The trial is expected to last three days and continues.