A DRIVER accused of causing the deaths of an elderly couple in a crash near York has denied he was going too fast and taking risks on the road.

Robert Verity, 26, is accused of two counts of causing death by careless driving but yesterday he told a jury at York Crown Court he was driving below the speed limit.

Strensall couple Dennis Green, 81, and his wife Doreen, 80, died when their Citroen Xsara and Verity’s Land Rover and trailer collided in Northgate Lane, near Gate Helmsley, on April 5, 2013.

Jurors yesterday went out to consider their verdicts and they will continue their deliberations today.

Verity, of Middlecroft Drive in Strensall, denies two charges of causing death by careless driving.

Giving evidence in his defence, Verity told the jury he had left Warthill Grange, where he had been finishing off a job, just before 1pm, and headed towards Gate Helmsley along Northgate Lane, which he knew because he drove along it two or three times a week.

Verity told the jury he thought he had been doing “about 40mph” as he drove round a left-hand bend immediately before the collision. The limit for the road is 50mph.

He said he saw the Xsara about 70 metres away in the middle of the road driving “faster than I would” along that stretch.

Accident investigation experts who were called for the prosecution and defence agree that the Citroen was doing considerably less than the speed limit when the vehicles collided.

Verity said: “It was in the centre coming straight towards me.

“I didn’t know if it would pull back in.

“I pulled to the left-hand side as far as I could. I touched my brakes.”

He said that after the Land Rover slid to a halt, he got out through the driver’s window and ran over to the car where he saw flames in the engine.

While a passing motorist tried to help the couple inside, he ran back to his Land Rover to get his phone and call the emergency services.

Then he saw the car explode in flames.

He claimed the trailer “bounced” as he went on to the verge, making the back end of the Land Rover go up.

The trailer jack-knifed back into the road and he tried to control his vehicles, but they hit the white car ahead, the court heard.

He denied prosecution suggestions that he had been going too fast round a blind bend and he had been “taking a risk” on a road he knew well.