Father and son jailed for manslaughter

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A father and son who ran a Daventry haulage business have been jailed for the manslaughter of one of their drivers who fell asleep at the wheel.

Adrian John McMurray, 54, from Frobisher Drive in Daventry and Adrian Paul McMurray, 36, from Ivy Road in Northampton, were jailed for a total of 11 years.

The pair ran A J Haulage when father of four Stephen Kenyon was crushed to death when his 39-tonne Renault lorry crashed into a line of stationary traffic on the M1 southbound in February 2010.

Mr Kenyon, 35, of Milton Keynes, had been driving more than 13 hours and working for more than 19 hours when the law states that people can only drive lorries for 10 hours in a 24-hour period.

They both denied manslaughter by gross negligence and failing to discharge an employer’s duty.

The jury unanimously convicted the father of both charges. They found the son guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 10 to 2 and guilty unanimously on the second charge at a hearing earlier in the year.

Judge Andrew Bright QC jailed Adrian John McMurray for a total of seven years - four years for manslaughter and three years for fraud. He sentenced Adrian Paul McMurray to a total of four years – two-and-a-half years for the manslaughter and 18 months for the fraud.

The judge told the McMurrays: “The excessive hours for which he was driving caused him to be so tired he was a danger to himself and other road users.

“Heavy lorries pose a very real threat to other road users and that threat was substantially increased by the way you ran your haulage business.

“The death of Stephen Kenyon was an accident waiting to happen. Adrian John McMurray and Adrian Paul McMurray, you ran the business with scant regard to your legal obligations and cutting every corner to maximise your profits.”

HM Revenue and Customs looked into the tax affairs of A J Haulage following Mr Kenyon’s death and uncovered a network of tax fraud totalling £1.2 million.

The business failed to declare income of over £5.1 million, didn’t pay income tax or VAT and failed to operate PAYE and National Insurance on wages paid to their employees.

McMurray senior pleaded guilty to failing to declare income of £5.1 million, resulting in an income tax loss of £311,000, failing to operate PAYE and National Insurance of £470,000 on individuals employed and being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT totalling £424,000 under the VAT Act 1994. He had also pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier date.

McMurray junior pleaded guilty by failing to operate PAYE and National Insurance of £139,921 on individuals employed.