December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Christine Cunningham, court reporter
Saturday, July 14, 2012
An experienced ambulance driver who was involved in a fatal crash with a motorcycle while attending an emergency call has been cleared of causing death by careless driving.
Motorcyclist Neil Griffiths, 54, from St Ives, in Cambridgeshire was killed on the A146 by Hales on July 9 last year when he was involved in a collision with an ambulance which was attending an emergency call-out to a patient who had suffered a suspected stroke.
The ambulance was being driven by paramedic Ivor Prow, 52, who was turning into Green Lane when the accident happened.
Mr Griffiths died from his injuries at the scene.
Mr Prow and his colleague in the ambulance also suffered injuries in the crash, with Mr Prow receiving cuts and bruising.
Mr Prow of Gorleston Road, Oulton Broad, who has worked for the ambulance service for 28 years, had denied causing the death of Mr Griffiths by careless driving and, following a five-day trial, a Norwich Crown Court jury found him not guilty.
A large number of colleagues and family were in court to support Mr Prow and there were some tears of relief when the jury returned its verdict.
Afterwards Mr Prow did not want to comment but during the trial he was described by his barrister Jonanthan Goodman as an “honest, diligent and skilled paramedic, caught up in a nightmare”.
In police interviews, Mr Prow had also told police how the fatal crash would be with him for the rest of his life and had affected him “very badly”.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said after the verdict: “This was a very tragic case and our thoughts go out to all those affected by it, in particular the family of Neil Griffiths.
“Driving under emergency conditions is challenging and we provide rigorous training and continual comprehensive support for all our frontline staff.”
After the verdict the family of Mr Griffiths also paid tribute to him as a “much loved” individual who was an experienced and safe motorcyclist.
In a statement, his family said: “He was a successful businessman and lived life to the full.
“He had a big personality and always strived to ensure everyone around him was happy. He was an experienced and safe motorcyclist and was planning several European trips on his bike.”
The family said that Mr Griffiths was returning after visiting his eldest son when he was involved in the tragic collision.
The family said: “It is impossible to put into words how this has affected us all as his family, but to say he is missed is merely a start. Although the last year has affected us deeply, and that we now have to live without Neil, we also know that Neil’s death has touched others too, including the people who witnessed the collision and those involved in it.”