A ‘FRUSTRATED’ lorry driver hit and killed a young boy because he had been distracted by ‘sarcastically clapping’ another motorist to see traffic lights change, a court has heard.

Dean Phoenix, from Chineham, did not notice the red light at a pedestrian crossing that allowed three-year-old Jaiden Mangan to cross in front of him as he was ‘swearing and gesticulating’ at the time, it is alleged.

The 44-year-old pulled away to drive around an illegally parked car that was blocking his path and struck Jaiden who was riding a balance bike.

The youngster, who was with his mother, Yasmin Dougan, and sister, suffered severe head injuries and died later in hospital. His fourth birthday would have been the next day.

The collision was captured on CCTV and the dashcam of a taxi that was approaching the crossing in Wareham, Dorset, on March 29 last year.

A jury at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday heard the footage showed Phoenix become frustrated that his Sainsbury’s lorry had to wait behind a Vauxhall Astra a pensioner had parked just in front of the crossing, causing a chicane.

Phoenix mistakenly thought a car on the opposite side of the road had stopped to let him through and was filmed ‘sarcastically clapping’ as it made the space tight for him.

In fact the car had stopped for the red light that Phoenix failed to see, it is alleged.

Phoenix has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, but denies a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

The jury was told Graham Booker, 71, had illegally parked his car in the zig-zag area of the crossing, causing the traffic to build up.

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said Mr Booker had been convicted of careless driving for his actions that contributed to the tragic incident.

He said Phoenix should still have been able to see the lights change and stop at the crossing.

Mr Ellacott said: “There is no dispute that Mr Phoenix was driving and that the collision which occurred led to the death of young Jaiden.

“The question is whether what happened and the manner of Mr Phoenix’s driving amounted to dangerous driving.

“Mr Phoenix is gesticulating in his van, quite clearly frustrated and annoyed.

“When the vehicle stops because of the red light Mr Phoenix is seen giving a sarcastic clap before returning his hand to the steering wheel and driving forwards, colliding with Jaiden.

“Jaiden pauses for a few seconds, so he is behind his mother and sister but the lights are still red.

“He then sets off and passes in front of the lorry and almost makes it past before the vehicle moves forward, striking Jaiden.

“In interview Mr Phoenix describes himself in the cab ‘swearing and frustrated at the position he, Mr Booker, has put me in’.

“The Crown accepts the initial hold up problem is not caused by this defendant.

“Mr Booker’s actions have caused the initial problem, however, Mr Phoenix is responsible for the position he put himself in and the actions he neglected to take.

“It is clear as he approaches that the way ahead was blocked, clearly he was going to have to stop.

“Mr Phoenix could have stopped prior to the crossing, giving himself a better view of it and the lights but he chose to encroach on the crossing.

“He was clearly annoyed and frustrated at being held up and others not allowing him to go.

“Mr Phoenix has failed to take the time to see that the lights had changed, no doubt because of his frustration, but he wasn’t so busy that he couldn’t give a sarcastic clap.”

Mr Ellacott said the defendant also failed to look in the mirror at the front of his cab that would have shown Jaiden crossing.

The trial continues.