Mother of teen killed in quad bike horror speaks of her 'pride'
THE mother of a teenager killed in a quad bike accident has told a jury of her pride for her son.
Plymouth Crown Court was read a written statement from Ann Marie Nyhan about 17-year-old Phillip.
Mr Nyhan, from Wotter, had won a place on pioneering training scheme to learn moorland farming techniques.
But he died after a head-on smash while riding a quad bike near Philip Coaker's Dartmoor farm in 2007.
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The 50-year-old, from Widecombe-in-the-moor, is on trial after denying a charge brought by the Health and Safety Executive.
He allegedly failed in his duty as an employer to take all measures not to expose persons, including Mr Nyhan, to risks to their health and safety through the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), commonly known as quad bikes.
Closing his defence, Coaker's barrister Adam Vaitilington, read a statement from Mrs Nyhan.
She said he was one of only four apprentices to win a place on the Moor Skills Farming Project Limited, a company of which Coaker was a director. Fifteen people were interviewed.
Mrs Nyhan said: "I was very proud of him. I was pleased for him. He was a competent ATV driver.
"He always wanted to work on a farm. He was always outside and wanted an outdoor life."
She added he had been riding quad bikes since he was 14 and motorcycles since he was 16.
The 17-year-old was riding on a narrow country lane when he collided with another vehicle and was thrown from the machine.
Mr Nyhan was not wearing a helmet – and died from severe head injuries.
Prosecutors allege Coaker did not do enough to ensure apprentices wore helmets and did not set an example by wearing one himself.
Mrs Nyhan said in her statement that she had stayed in touch with Philip Coaker since 2007 and was "disappointed" when he stopped taking apprentices.
The jury is expected to retire today to consider its verdict.