A man convicted for the murder of a Preston drug dealer has launched civil action against Land Rover, after being involved in a fatal motorway crash.
Kevin Samuel Cole, 36, who served 15 years for the gang murder of John Dookie in 1997, was on parole when his Range Rover swerved across the M62 and collided at 98mph with a Volvo being driven by Eileen Dalgleish in May 2013.
Mrs Dalgleish, 66, died at the scene and her husband Thomas, also 66, spent days in intensive care.
Cole, 36, was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving and recalled to prison, but in a dramatic twist just days before he was due to stand trial, prosecutors offered no case against him in the face of expert evidence that the accident was not his fault.
Prosecutors told the court that initial examinations of the custom-built Range Rover Vogue Autobiography showed no faults with the steering or transmission, but a defence expert, John Griffin, found there was a fault with the steering wheel to the extent that it was “spinning freely” in the steering column.
Now Cole says he has submitted a letter of claim to Land Rover out of concern for public safety and the harm the incident caused to both the Dalgleish family and his own attempt to begin a new life.
A Land Rover spokesman said: “The Range Rover is manufactured to the highest possible quality standards and carries a five star rating for safety performance from Euro NCAP.
“Land Rover worked in full cooperation with the police authorities to carry out a thorough and expert investigation resulting in clear evidence to prove that there was no issue or failing with the vehicle. Detailed manufacturing data relating to this specific vehicle proves, without doubt, that the steering column was fitted correctly and safely at the point of manufacture.
“Additionally, data from the vehicle’s ‘black box’ suggests that the steering system was operating correctly.
“Land Rover makes safe vehicles; they are built and tested to the highest quality standards.”
Dookie, 22, of Princes Reach, Docklands, died after he was stabbed outside the Variety Pub in St Peter’s Street, Preston, on Valentine’s Day 1996 in a feud over drug dealing territory.