Driver recalls footballer Gordon Lennon's last moments

image captionGordon Lennon (right) with former Dumbarton manager Jim Chapman

The man who was driving a 4x4 vehicle which crashed when footballer Gordon Lennon was electrocuted has recalled the Dumbarton captain's final moments.

Fraser Hughes told a fatal accident inquiry that he and Mr Lennon were "unharmed" in the immediate aftermath of the crash into an electricity pole.

He said the player was alive when he reached for the door handle to get out.

Mr Lennon was electrocuted during the off-roading trip at Brahan, near Maryburgh, in June 2009.

The 26-year-old, originally from Larne, County Antrim, died shortly after leading his team to promotion to Division Two.

He lived in Paisley and had a baby son with his partner, Kelly Dempsey.

Mr Hughes, 24, told the inquiry at Dingwall Sheriff Court: "It was the last run of the day and we decided to return to a muddy hole, known as the bomb hole.

"As I was driving down the track I felt the vehicle pull to the left. I steered to the right and applied power to correct this, as you would when you are participating in off-roading."

'Electricity crackling'

He claimed the wheels got stuck in a mud rut and pulled him off the track, adding: "We struck a wooden pole to the front passenger side of my vehicle.

"The wires came down off the electricity pole and I remember seeing the metal work that would normally be at the top of the pole coming down as well.

"I heard the noise of the electricity crackling, and the surge of electricity I felt is difficult to describe. There was sparks and there were flames coming from the front of the vehicle.

"We were both unharmed. I remember shouting to Gordon to get out because I feared the fire and electricity."

Mr Hughes added: "The last I saw Mr Lennon alive was him reaching for the handle to open the door.

"I got out safely and sprinted away from the vehicle."

Mr Hughes said he realised shortly afterwards that the footballer was not with him and he went to find him.

Mr Hughes' brother John, who had been driving behind him with James Hampton, the husband of Mr Lennon's fiancee's sister, had arrived on the scene and the three of them went searching for the footballer.

Explosion concern

The car valeter, from Inverness, told the court they discovered Mr Lennon was lying on his back next to the 4x4, with his head in a ditch at the rear of the vehicle and his leg ablaze.

He said: "We dragged him to the track and James, a first aider, put the fire on his leg out and gave him CPR.

"I heard the wires begin to charge again, there was a nose and sparking. There was a petrol can in the rear of my vehicle and my concern was an explosion. We dragged Mr Lennon further away."

Mr Hughes' brother called 999 on his mobile phone while Mr Hampton continued to give the footballer mouth-to-mouth and chest massage while they waited for paramedics to arrive.

Mr Lennon was taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, but died about an hour after the crash, which happened at about 1600 BST on 7 June 2009.

The inquiry, before Sheriff Alasdair MacFadyen, continues.

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