Cornwall

Looe fatal coach crash driver's brake failure claim

Coach crash
Image caption Two women died in the crash and 18 people were injured, four seriously

The driver of a coach which crashed killing two women has told a court that he had problems with the vehicle's brakes before the accident.

Martin Chun, 59, denies causing the deaths of passengers Margaret Luxton, 59, and Carol Muldoon, 68, in May 2014.

The coach, with 51 passengers on board, was on an Age Concern trip when it crashed on a steep hill near Looe in Cornwall.

Mr Chun denied being distracted by his mobile phone when the crash happened.

'Brace' warning

The jury at Truro Crown Court had previously heard the driver was using a hands-free phone device at the time of the accident and had been talking "on and off" to his son for about 15 minutes about some financial problems.

Eighteen people were injured in the crash - four of them seriously.

Some of the passengers told the court they did not think Mr Chun was concentrating and claimed he approached a bend too quickly as he came down the hill.

More on the trial and other stories

However, when asked by defence barrister Paul Dunkels if he had been distracted by being on the phone, he replied "no".

Mr Chun said when he pressed the brake pedal, he "couldn't feel any pulling back or slowing down".

He said he shouted to his passengers that his brakes had failed, so they could "brace themselves".

"I thought if I put the coach into some soft vegetation, it would slow down," he told the court.

Image caption Martin Chun, who was talking to his son using a hands-free mobile phone device when the accident happened, denies being distracted by the call

"I didn't realise it was a wall covered by vegetation - it bounced off that and it was then that it went up of two wheels."

Mr Chun denied the brake failure was something he had invented because he knew he had done something wrong.

The driver, from Whitestone near Exeter, denies one count of causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative count of causing death by careless driving.

He also denies a third charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The trial continues.

Image caption Two people died after the crash at Morval, near Looe

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