A BINMAN whose refuse lorry hit and killed a pedestrian has been convicted of causing death by careless driving.
Jakub Murlewski, 28, was reversing a 3.5-tonne refuse truck into Sapcote Trading Centre, Dudden Hill Lane, Neasden, when he ran over dispensing assistant Yousef Zayni, who died within the hour of head injuries.
Murlewski was backing up to collect waste from Asian snack manufacturer UPB Products and had reached 7.5mph – twice walking speed – when his heavy goods vehicle knocked down the 23-year-old Brunel University graduate, of Preston Road, Wembley.
The court was told Mr Zayni had been listening to music at high volume through earphones while taking a shortcut to work from nearby Dollis Hill Tube station.
He was a former pupil of Mount Stewart School, in Kenton, and Preston Manor School, Wembley, and was one of three children.
The defendant denied causing death by dangerous driving and an alternative count of causing death by careless driving.
On Friday, June 21 a Harrow Crown Court jury acquitted him of the former count and convicted him of the latter.
Prosecutor Peter Finnigan had told the court the previous day: “It’s a terrible, sad case, so very sad for the family of the deceased and it’s terribly sad for the defendant, who is a decent man who has worked hard. He reversed far too fast into an area which he knew contained people and which therefore posed serious danger.”
Jurors heard Murlewski, from Hayes, did not follow his employer SITA UK’s new safety rules to instruct his colleague in the cab, Mark Summers, to act as a reversing assistant, or banksman.
The lorry’s audible reversing alarm had been physically disconnected some time between a full service on December 1 and the accident at 9.20am on December 13, 2011, though it was never noted in Murlewski’s or Mr Summers’ routine checks for defects.
Mr Finnigan said: “Whatever the reason, the culture, the pressure, it should not have happened and he should have taken more care, and he should have asked somebody to act as his eyes and ears. It is common sense.
“There was no good reason apart from haste and a lack of proper attention why he shouldn’t have seen Mr Zayni walking to work that day. The manner in which the defendant drove the truck, irrespective of whether he knew about the defective alarm, fell far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver. It was dangerous.”
Harry Potter, defending Murlewski, said: “It seems to be a simple miscalculation, an error of judgement that’s so easy to make. He was going faster than either of them thought. Mr Zayni had his volume up and the evidence shows he wouldn’t have heard the lorry.”
Murlewski, a married Pole who served 11 months in the Polish Army, will be sentenced on July 24.
Mr Zayni graduated in Studied BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science from Brunel University, in Hillingdon, months before he died and was working as a dispensing assistant.