May 2017 saw the longest criminal trial in the UK draw to a close, plus more crash-for-cash convictions, a suspicious motorhome fire and promising news from Volvo on its autonomous vehicles.
UK’s Longest Criminal Trial Ends with Couple Convicted
A four year investigation came to an end recently, as a `sell and rent back’ homes fraud ended with convictions for Edwin and Lorraine McLaren of Renfrewshire, Scotland.
The Daily Record reported that the scam netted about £1.7million and many people were left penniless after the McLarens had fleeced them out of their homes. Proceeds from the house sales were funnelled into accounts controlled by the McLarens and some 24 properties were involved.
Court proceedings began in September 2015.
IFB Racks Up 500th Conviction
Investigations by the Insurance Fraud Bureau led to the conviction of yet another `crash-for-cash’ gang, this time operating in the Midlands. Amar Hussain and three others were found guilty of making false insurance claims. They will be sentenced in June, reports the Stratford Herald website.
Volvo Pioneers Auto Braking Systems – Rear-End Crashes Drop 45%
BusinessCar magazine reports on Volvo’s progress in autonomous braking and accident avoidance systems, which obviously has big potential benefits in saving lives, money and reducing crash-for-cash incidents.
According to the article there’s been a 45% drop in rear end crashes in Sweden, now that the Volvo system can jam the brakes on at speeds of up to 80mph.
Chinese owned Volvo is also developing a Pilot Assist software package, which will allow the car to change lanes, read hazards and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
Hollywood Firestarter Busted by His Girlfriend’s Getaway Car
A UK-based Hollywood stuntman, Ray Nicholas, had fallen on hard times after a career doing work on films such as Gladiator, Braveheart and The Bourne Ultimatum. The answer to his cash woes was torching his Fiat Ducato motorhome and claiming the £20K insurance payout.
However, Police ANPR systems revealed that Nicholas’ partner’s car, a Peugeot had been seen in the Derbyshire area, close to where the burning motorhome was found in a lay-by. The gap between the motorhome being driven in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire and the Peugeot was just an eight minute walk.
The court accepted that this meant Nicholas had been picked up by his girlfriend in her Peugeot, after torching the motorhome. He was convicted but spared jail, due to health problems, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Thor – The God of Crash Test Dummies
There’s a new Thor in town, and he isn’t a Viking God waving a hammer, but more likely to be found sat in a Nissan Juke, whilst being driven into a wall. Thor is short for Test device for Human Occupant Restraint, or crash test dummy to you and me and they’re being upgraded.
The new Thor dummies will be obese, to simulate injuries sustained by large-framed drivers, plus have individual ribs, so that less serious injuries can be assessed and analysed. The dummies cost around £500,000 each, reports the Times of London.