Van driver fell asleep and killed two women on A47, court hears

The crash closed the road in both directions. Picture: Ryan Hacon

Simon Nortcliffe, 53, has gone on trial accused of causing the deaths of Mary Matthews, 76, and Myra Green, 78 following a crash on the A47 Acle Straight. - Credit: Archant

 A van driver fell asleep at the wheel on the A47 Acle Straight before crashing into a car, killing two women, a court has heard.

Simon Nortcliffe, 53, is on trial at Norwich Crown Court having denied driving dangerously on the A47 New Road, near Mautby, causing the death of Mary Matthews, 76, and Myra Green, 78.

David Wilson, prosecuting, said Nortcliffe had been travelling in his Fiat Ducato van towards Great Yarmouth when his vehicle “moved into the opposite carriageway on the wrong side of the road”.

Mr Wilson said the defendant’s van collided head-on with the pink Nissan Micra being driven by Myra Green, who was travelling with Mary Matthews.

As a result both vehicles left the road and ended up in the same ditch after colliding, he said.

Mr Wilson said as a result of the crash both women in the Micra were "fatally injured and died from the injuries they sustained in the collision”.

There was said to have been no attempt to brake or to move back to his side of the road by Nortcliffe.

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Mr Wilson said it was consistent with his having fallen asleep while driving.

The jury was told Nortcliffe, who installed greenhouses, had been at work that day having got up at about 5.45am at his home in Shropshire.

Mr Wilson said the defendant had driven about 230 miles that day after a day at work before the crash, which happened at about 4.50pm on March 2 2020.

He said the fact there was no braking or corrective steering from Nortcliffe suggested the “the defendant has tragically fallen asleep at the wheel”.

Mr Wilson said it was the prosecution’s case Nortcliffe’s driving had been dangerous.

One witness described how the van went into the opposite lane before a “huge bang” and the Micra was pushed back into the ditch.

Another motorist described how the white van “cartwheeled” before ending up in the ditch following the crash.

Nortcliffe, of Whitchurch, Shropshire, was described by witnesses as having said: “I’ve no idea, I’ve no clue what happened” after the crash.

The trial continues. 

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