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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Man killed in north Cumbria road crash named

A 62-year-old driving instructor has been named as the victim of a head-on crash.

Eric Coulson died at the scene of the accident on the Wigton bypass yesterday, after his car collided with a lorry.

He is believed to have been on his way to Carlisle, where he was standing trial accused of sexually assaulting a female driving pupil – a charge he denied.

Mr Coulson was the only person in the white Suzuki Swift car, which was branded with details of his driving school in Wigton. He collided with an NHS supplies delivery truck heading towards Workington shortly before 9am. The lorry driver, a 45-year-old man from Liverpool, was not injured.

The jury in his trial at Carlisle Crown Court was discharged yesterday morning but not told the reason why.

Defence barrister Alison Whalley said the case would be mentioned today when proceedings are expected to be formally closed.

The court heard earlier in the week how Mr Coulson denied sexually assaulting a woman as she drove to her driving test. He said she was making up the story as she blamed him for failing her test by getting a new car shortly before she sat it.

The driving instructor, of Wampool Place, Wigton, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman – Miss A – in June last year, when she was 21.

He also denied a similar allegation that he sexually assaulted another woman – Miss B, who was then 18 – who came forward only after she heard Miss A had gone to the police.

The A596 bypass was closed until 3pm yesterday as accident investigators examined the scene, several hundred yards east of the road’s Station Road junction.

A Cumbria police spokeswoman renewed an appeal for witnesses to the crash and said investigators may examine CCTV images, if available, from the surrounding area.

As news of his death filtered out last night, tributes were paid on social networking sites.

Fiona Bowe posted on Facebook that it was “a sad day for those [who] lost a loved one”.

On Twitter, Steven Douglas said ‘RIP Eric Coulson’.

Anyone with information about the accident, or who saw either vehicle shortly before the accident,can get in touch with West Cumbria Roads Policing Unit on the non-emergency number 101.

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