Farmer on trial over Castle Acre death crash

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A West Norfolk farmer has gone on trial accused of causing the death of a woman in a crash nearly four years ago.

Henry Bett, 28, of Hall Lane, Thornham, denies causing the death of Rebecca Brown in Castle Acre by driving dangerously on December 4, 2013.

However, a jury at Cambridge Crown Court has been told he admits causing her death by careless driving.

Bett had been driving a large tractor when it was in collision with a Fiat Punto, driven by Mrs Brown, who was 43.

Simon Wilshire, prosecuting, said Bett’s driving was dangerous because it fell “far below” that of a competent or careful driver.

He claimed Bett had been travelling faster than the maximum 20 miles per hour permitted for a tractor of its size on a public road.

He added: “The investigation reveals that Bett appeared not to see Mrs Brown’s car, even though there was 100m visibility leading up to the collision.

“He appears to have driven into the Fiat and continued for 45m down the road before coming to a halt.”

The jury was also shown a video of a police interview with Mrs Brown’s son, Thomas, who was 17 at the time of the crash and had been travelling with her on the day.

But William Harbage QC, defending, said that, although his client acknowledged he was at fault for the crash, there was insufficient evidence to say exactly how fast he had been driving at the time.

He said: “This tractor was truly enormous. He was driving that at the end of a hard day’s work and sadly and tragically, a momentary error, his error, has caused enormous consequences.

“The fact he made a mistake doesn’t necessarily make him guilty of dangerous driving. A momentary lapse falls below, but not far below, the standard expected.”

Mr Harbage also conceded some of what Bett had said after the crash “cannot be right”, but argued he was shocked, traumatised and “in denial” about what had happened. The trial continues.