Regional News — January 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm — Updated: January 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Convicted rail boss ‘unfit’ to hold HGV licence

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A North Wales businessman convicted of the manslaughter of four track workers in Cumbria has been refused an operator’s licence to run HGVs.

Mark Connolly was jailed after a runaway wagon struck engineers working on the West Coast Main Line at Tebay in February 2004.

The Traffic Commissioner for Wales has deemed the 55 year-old unfit to hold a licence to run vehicles from the Greenfield Industrial Estate in Holywell. Nick Jones said he was ”wholly unimpressed” by Connolly’s conduct and his standards fell ”woefully short”.

A public inquiry held in Welshpool last month heard Connolly, now based in Rhyl, had tried to cut costs by disconnecting two hydraulic brakes from the wagon instead of repairing them. His company had been subcontracted with maintenance firm Carillion, which was working on upgrading the rail network.

At Newcastle Crown Court in 2006, he was convicted four times for the manslaughter of Colin Buckley (49), Darren Burgess (30), Chris Waters (53) and Gary Tindall (46). His nine year prison sentence was reduced to seven on appeal – he served five years on licence upon his release in 2008.

Last May, he had been stopped by the DVSA after he was caught operating an HGV on the A4087 in Bangor without a licence or permission. Connolly had claimed he was carrying out recovery work and did not need a licence, but the authority found his truck was no different to a general haulage vehicle.

During the inquiry, Connolly had claimed that although he had been running HGVs at the time of the Tebay tragedy, his new business would be a very different operation.

In his written conclusion, the commissioner ruled: ”It is clear that the convictions resulting in four separate seven-year prison sentences for manslaughter arose from his business that included HGV transport. Mark Connolly’s approach to a highly dangerous safety critical environment demonstrated the grossest of negligence.”

Mr Jones added that because Connolly had held a licence before his convictions, he should have been aware of the requirements – his fitness to hold a licence again was affected because the convictions were not spent.

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