Tyne & Wear

Tyneside haulier denies wife's manslaughter

Newcastle Crown Court
Image caption Graeme Lamb is appearing at Newcastle Crown Court

A Tyneside haulage boss crushed his wife to death under the wheels of his lorry following a drunken row, a court has heard.

Josephine Lamb, 58, died outside the couple's home at Quarry Park Stables in Wardley Lane, Gateshead, in July 2009.

Graeme Lamb told Newcastle Crown Court he thought she would move away when he drove off.

The 48-year-old denies manslaughter and causing death by careless driving while over the drink-drive limit.

The court was told the couple had been drinking before they fell out over a female employee at the stables, haulage firm and livery business he ran.

Mrs Lamb was described as "possessive" and had on previous occasions damaged the house and a van during a jealous rage.

Her husband said that on the evening of her death he feared she would target his Scania flatbed truck and wanted to get it away from the yard.

He drove up to the gates, which she had closed, and tried to push them open with the lorry.

Mr Lamb said his wife was below his line of sight and became pinned against the gates.

She suffered what paramedics called to the scene by Mr Lamb described as "catastrophic head injuries".

The court heard that he was found to have 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

A post-mortem examination revealed his wife would have been almost twice over the limit.

Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, said: "His words to ambulance control during the 999 call tell you all you need to know: 'She wouldn't let us leave. She jumped in front of us and I thought she would move out of the way, but she didn't'.

"By continuing to drive the wagon forward in these circumstances in that knowledge, the defendant acted unlawfully.

"The unlawful act was one which all sober and reasonable people would immediately realise must subject the deceased to at least the risk of some physical harm.

"For these purposes it is immaterial whether or not he intended harm. His actions at the time were clearly reckless."

The trial continues.

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