M6 crash death driver guilty of dangerous driving

image copyrightCraig McGlasson
image captionPeter Morrison had pleaded guilty to careless driving but denied dangerous driving

A football agent who killed a road worker on the M6 has been found guilty of dangerous driving.

Peter Morrison, 37, had been speeding and sending phone messages before the crash in Cumbria in February 2016, a court heard.

Adam Gibb, from Penrith, died and Paul Holroyd, from Kirkby Stephen, was left paralysed from the chest down.

Morrison, of The Warke in Worsley, Salford, has been warned he faces a "substantial custodial sentence".

He had pleaded guilty to careless driving but denied he was going too fast and said he had stopped using his phone by the time his Mercedes 4x4 hit the men.

Morrison, who is also a former professional player, was travelling at an average of 81mph (130km/h) for 23 miles before the fatal crash, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

In that time he exchanged texts and 25 WhatsApp messages with colleagues and clients, including footballers, it heard.

image copyrightCumbria Police
image captionAdam Gibb's family said he was a "fantastic dad and a wonderful husband"

Morrison, who is married with one child, veered across the motorway in heavy rain, strong winds and surface water.

He hit Mr Gibb and Mr Holroyd, both 51, who were supervising the recovery of two previously crashed vehicles on the hard shoulder just south of Tebay.

Morrison said he had put his phone down after seeing a matrix warning sign near Tebay and was "truly, truly sorry".

The court was told that Morrison was of good character, enjoyed professional respect, and character references included one form the current Manchester City captain and Belgium international Vincent Kompany.

The jury of seven men and five women unanimously found him guilty of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Adjourning sentencing until 23 November, Judge Peter Davies released Morrison on bail as an "act of mercy".

In an address to the judge, defence lawyer John Dye said Morrison had been told the "inevitable outcome of the jury's verdict is that he will receive a substantial custodial sentence".

Mr Gibb's widow, Julie Labbett, paid tribute to a "fantastic dad and a wonderful husband".

She added: "I hope people will see what has happened today, and I know it won't stop them using their mobile phones, but hopefully if it just stops one person doing it then it's going to have been worth what we've had to go through, so nobody else has to."

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