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Double-death driver: 'I drove too fast'

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: October 09, 2009

Phillip Cann

A MOTORIST accused of causing the deaths of a father and son told a jury he now thought he was travelling too fast around a bend – but that he was not driving dangerously.

Phillip Cann, 24, of Priory, Bovey Tracey, Devon, was being cross-examined by the prosecution in his trial at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.

He has pleaded not guilty to two charges – of causing the deaths of John Larsson and son Stephen Larsson by dangerous driving on the B3344 between Chudleigh Knighton and Bovey Tracey.

The court was told that Cann collided with an oncoming silver Renault Megane Scenic car driven by John Larsson's 75-year-old wife on Friday May 23 last year.

Mr Larsson, 79, the front-seat passenger, died at the scene while his 47-year-old son, who was sitting behind him, died several weeks later from his injuries.

Cann, giving evidence, agreed with prosecutor Nicholas O'Brien that he knew the road well, that he was driving around a blind bend and that he would not be able to see around it.

When asked how his car had started to slide, he said: "I don't know."

Mr O'Brien said: "It's not normal, is it?"

Cann replied: "It's not normal."

The defendant agreed that the back of his car began to "twitch" and move towards the central line, and that he then tried to correct it by steering the car the other way.

He agreed that he could not remember what happened next.

When questioned by the prosecutor about whether he was driving too fast, Cann said: "Since I've listened to reports and everything like that, I must have been going too fast for the bend.

"At the time, I really didn't think I was."

The prosecutor remarked that a "competent and capable driver" would not have driven around the corner too fast.

Cann said: "Every individual is different so takes it at different speeds.

"I should have been going more slowly, I now realise. I just don't think I was driving dangerously."

The prosecutor said: "To your credit, you accept you were responsible for this accident."

Cann replied: "Yes."

Robert Linford, defending, said he had no further questions to put to the defendant after the cross-examination.

The defence ended and both legal teams were due to begin summing up their cases to the jury.

The trial continues.

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