young girl dies
A four-year-old girl and three adults were killed in the crash in Upper Weston, near Bath in 2015 Getty

A 32-tonne tipper truck that killed four people, including a four-year-old girl in 2015 after its brakes failed, had undergone a safety inspection just three weeks before the incident occurred, a Bristol court has heard.

The truck, which had a driving history of 450,000 miles (724,000km), was "an accident waiting to happen" when the tragedy occurred in the village of Weston, near Bath, on 9 February 2015.

The truck, driven by "inexperienced" 20-year-old Phillip Potter, was one of two which were descending the steep hill at Lansdown Lane with 32-tonne loads of aggregate from a nearby quarry. The truck in front, driven by Potter's boss Matthew Gordon, stopped but the brakes of Potter's vehicle failed.

Picking up speed as it went downhill the truck smashed into other vehicles and pedestrians, mowing down four-year-old Mitzi Steady as she walked with her grandmother Margaret Rogers to pick up older siblings from school and causing "life-changing" injuries to her grandmother.

Another pedestrian, Karla Brennan, also received serious injuries. The truck then toppled onto a car, killing the three men inside - Stephen Vaughan, 34, Philip Allen, 52, and 59-year-old Robert Parker.

Bristol Crown Court heard that the truck had allegedly been inspected three weeks before the incident by mechanic Peter Wood, who is facing charges along with Potter and Gordon. Prosecutor Adam Vaitilingam QC said: "If Mr Wood did carry out a safety inspection that day it was wholly inadequate.

"On the date of the crash the lorry had serious and long standing defects with its braking system, meaning that it was and had been for some time in a dangerous condition," said Mr Vaitilingam, as quoted by the BBC.

"This sort of catastrophic brake failure doesn't just happen through bad luck."

Phillip Potter faces a total of 10 charges including causing death by dangerous driving. Matthew Gordon, 30, faces 14 charges and mechanic Peter Wood, aged 55, faces four.

All three deny the charges against them, the Bath Chronicle reports. The trial continues.