A truck driver has been jailed after he crashed into a bus stop in Blackheath, killing a 14-year-old boy.

Logan Finch was waiting for the 321 bus on Eltham Road with his aunt and cousins on December 21, 2021, when a truck driven by 43-year-old Frederick Mansfield veered onto the pavement. 

Logan was tragically pronounced dead at the scene after he was pinned between the truck and the bus stop, while his aunt Rachel Poole was left with serious injuries.   

Mansfield, who was not injured in the crash, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court today (February 22) where he was jailed for seven years for causing death by dangerous driving. 

Natalie Roach, Logan’s mum, told the court: “Logan was a bright, energetic, playful and considerate young man, loving life and his family. 

“There was so much love from people who knew Logan. He was everyone’s favourite person. Not a bad word could be said about Logan.” 

During a trial, Mansfield had blamed a previously undiagnosed sleep condition for Logan’s death, as he claimed he had drifted off seconds before the crash. 

But Natalie criticised Mansfield for pleading not guilty to causing Logan’s death and forcing them to endure an agonising trial. 

“As a parent, we teach our children right and wrong. To be honest, Frederick Mansfield hasn’t done what is right,” she said. 

News Shopper: Logan FinchLogan Finch (Image: Met Police)

‘On his way to get a haircut’ 

Logan was on his way to have a haircut in Eltham on the day of the crash. He was with his aunt, two of his cousins and a friend. 

At 3.33pm the group were waiting at the bus stop near the junction with Kidbrooke Park Road when the tragedy took place.  

Describing the incident, prosecutor Rupert Kent said: “Without any warning at all the defendant’s vehicle moved straight at this group. It came at them at some speed.

“It initially collided with a lamp post. It then collided with the bus stop causing some damage to it and in the process it hit Logan, it hit Rachel and it hit Rachel’s nine-year-old son.”  

When the vehicle came to a rest it had pinned Logan against the bus stop, causing fatal injuries.  

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 4.02pm.  

Ms Poole was thrown to the ground and sustained serious injuries to her legs and chest. Her nine-year-old son escaped without serious injury.

News Shopper: Logan Finch was waiting at a bus stop on Eltham Road when he was killed by dangerous drivingLogan Finch was waiting at a bus stop on Eltham Road when he was killed by dangerous driving (Image: StreetView)

‘Sleep apnoea’ 

Ten minutes after the crash had taken place, Mansfield was spoken to by police.  

Bodyworn footage showed Mansfield telling an officer “I just put my foot on the wrong pedal” and “that was my fault mate”.  

But when he was spoken to by another officer 45 minutes later Mansfield said: “I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit blurry. I must have either blacked out or fallen asleep.  

“I was going up towards the bus stop and that boy was in front of us and just...”  

He told officers he had never blacked out before.  

Prosecutor Mr Kent described Mansfield's explanations as a “developing narrative”.  

When he was formally interviewed the following day he said he couldn’t remember how it happened but he thought he might have blacked out and pressed the wrong pedal.  

When Mansfield was interviewed again five months later he issued a prepared statement telling police that the crash was caused by his previously undiagnosed sleep apnoea. 

Mansfield denied causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving, but on January 16 this year a jury found him guilty. 

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‘Logan will never be forgotten’ 

Reading a victim impact statement at Mansfield’s sentencing hearing, Logan's mum Natalie said her son was a bright and playful teenager. 

She said: "To have my son taken by someone else’s actions hurts me everyday. 

“He had a beautiful sister who was two years old when he died. She talks about him all the time. 

“Logan will never be forgotten”. 

She added: “I don’t understand how Frederick Mansfield pleaded not guilty to my son’s death. I pray and hope he gets the sentence he deserves.” 

Logan’s dad, David Finch, described the pain he felt when he was told that his son had passed away. 

“I remember that call like it was yesterday, my heart sunk. Hearing those words, we’re sorry but your son is dead, I will never forget,” he said. 

“We live close to the area where it happened, we’re reminded of it and knowing that my son took his last breath without me there.” 

David continued: “It wasn’t like he was running across the road to catch a bus, he was waiting at a place where he should have been safe. It makes it more difficult to understand why. 

“We will never see him graduate and be that proud family. We will never see him get married and have a happy family. We never got to say goodbye. We never got a chance to hold his hand and say everything is okay.” 

Rachel Poole, Logan’s aunt, has been left needing to use a wheelchair since the accident. 

She told the court: “I am in my early 40s but I feel like I am in my 80s. My children have suffered because I have not been able to be the mother I used to be.” 

Addressing Mansfield, Ms Poole said: “The driver of the lorry pleaded not guilty. It was a cowardly act. He should have owned up to what he’s done. 

“Instead, we’ve had to relive the trauma over and over again for the past two years, then we’ve had to sit in the trial and hear it again.” 

Seven years

Nicholas Cotter, representing Mansfield in court, said: “When he set out that day to go home, he wasn’t planning to not pay full attention or to fall asleep. He was not planning on harming anyone.” 

He told the court that the guilt will stay with his client for the rest of his life. 

Mansfield, from Hythe, is a father of two and is the operations director of an events company. 

On the day of the crash he had been driving back to Kent from Central London. 

Sentencing Mansfield, Judge Jonathan Mann KC said: “There’s no question that you didn’t set out to do anything bad to anybody that day.” 

But he said that people who get behind the wheel of such large vehicles must drive responsibly. 

“Those that do so bare a higher responsibility to be sensitive to the world around them as they drive. To be sensitive to the state of their vehicle and their own state,” he said. 

“Because a failure to notice the world around them, or a failure to notice feeling tired, can have huge consequences.” 

Addressing the cause of the crash, Judge Mann said: “It’s not clear what caused you to be distracted or not to be cognisant of what was going on – it was either distraction, or more likely, that you drifted off to sleep.” 

He added: “I think the truth was said yourself 11 minutes after the accident, when you told a police officer ‘It’s my fault, I put my foot on the wrong pedal.” 

He sentenced Mansfield to seven years in prison and ordered that he be disqualified from driving for six and a half years. 

Mansfield will have to pass an extended retest if he wants to drive again after that time.