Devon

'eBay driver killed road worker'

Exeter Crown Court Image copyright bbc
Image caption A driver 'on eBay' killed a road worker, Exeter Crown Court heard

A van driver was "on eBay" around the time he killed a road worker, a court heard.

Anthony Tompkins was driving at 55mph on the A361 in north Devon when he veered into highways workers.

Steven Tolly, 48, was hit by the wing mirror of the van inside protective cones and suffered head injuries.

Mr Tompkins, 45, has pleaded not guilty at Exeter Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said records showed Mr Tompkins used his phone four times in the half hour before the accident, with a six-minute internet session around the time of the collision at approximately 11:00 GMT on 29 January 2013.

Technology expert

Mr Posner said Mr Tompkins supplemented his income as a driver by buying and selling furniture on the online auction site eBay.

He said: "There is compelling evidence that he accessed eBay, a site which he visits to buy furniture, and as a consequence of his behaviour he caused the death of Mr Tolly. That is the irresistible conclusion we invite the jury to reach."

The prosecution said a police technology expert had set up a Galaxy Mobile telephone identical to the one owned by Mr Tompkins with the same eBay app and found it was not possible for it to be activated unwittingly.

The court heard Mr Tompkins, of Trehurst Farm, Saltash, Cornwall, claims he was suffering from a condition called sleep apnoea which caused him to have a "mini-sleep" at the time of the crash.

Mr Tolly, from Tiverton, was thrown into the air by the force of the impact and died six days later in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

Other road workers were also injured after jumping out of the way of the van.

The trial continues.

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