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Bike man's shock arrest sparks weeks of turmoil.

Byline: Andrew Hirst ,

organiser Trevor Duckworth

Possible manslaughter charge

A BRIGHOUSE man faces a month of turmoil after being arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Experienced motorbike racing events organiser Trevor Duckworth was the clerk of the course at a motorcycle sprint on the Isle of Man which ended in tragedy when one of the competitors died.

He was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

But he has been fully supported by the International Organisation of Professional Drivers, which inspects and oversees public safety and sets standards.

Mr Duckworth, 60, must return to the island again on March 10 to find out if any further action will be taken.

He said: "The police had questioned witnesses, riders and marshalls who were there on the day and I went to answer questions.

"But when I got there I was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter."

The man who died in the accident on August 31 last year was 61-year-old John Owen from Wales.

The tragedy happened during the first-ever Port Erin Classic Sprint, held during the Manx Grand Prix.

The event was held over 220 yards and tests the acceleration of bikes from a standing start.

It was organised by the Brighouse-based Straightliners Racing Club, which is run by Mr Duckworth.

Straightliners has been in existence for 10 years and Mr Duckworth has been organising motor sport events on the Isle of Man since 1978.

He said: "We run fully insured and properly organised events at the request of the Manx government."

After opening an inquest into Mr Owen's death, Manx coroner Michael Moyle asked the police to investigate the crash.

They did and have worked closely with officers from the island's health and safety office. Police appealed for anyone with photos or videos of the event to come forward and many have done so.

The IOPD's legal and technical director, Steve Murty, said: "Trevor's standards are the highest possible and he is a pioneer in safety. He is the last person in the UK who should be facing this."

Mr Murty said the case could have serious implications for anyone who organises potentially risky events.

"There is a conflict between health and safety and the need for people to enjoy challenging situations," he added.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 7, 2005
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