Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Christie jury considering verdict

Former Olympic sprint champion Linford Christie denies one count of dangerous driving

The jury in the trial of former Olympic sprint champion Linford Christie - who crashed head-on into a taxi while driving the wrong way down a major road - has retired to consider its verdict.

The former 100m champion told Aylesbury Crown Court during the case he thought he was "going to die" after colliding with the cab carrying a pair of newlyweds.

Jurors heard he clambered out of his badly-damage Audi A8 through its window because he thought it could "blow up".

The sportsman, of Sherland Road, Twickenham, west London, denies one count of dangerous driving on the A413 Amersham Road in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, on May 8 last year.

During the trial the panel of seven women and five men heard the taxi was propelled onto a grass verge while the dark-coloured Audi came to a halt in the middle of the carriageway.

Newly-married Peter Ashton had to be dragged from the taxi following the late-night crash.

Mr Ashton and his new wife Claire Lloyd-Ashton, both from the area near the crash, her uncle Michael Burt, from Cheltenham, and driver Naeem Akhtar were travelling from a venue named Merlin's Cave, in Chalfont St Giles, to the Bull Hotel in nearby Gerrards Cross, where they were staying.

Prosecutor Nigel Ogborne said the sprinter had failed to buy a pint of milk on the evening of the crash because the nearby Tesco Express petrol station was closed.

He told the court Christie was making his way home along the unlit A413 between 11.30pm and 11.40pm when he ploughed into the silver Mercedes taxi.

The jury will resume deliberations on Thursday morning.

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