A trial is set to take place after a woman denied causing the death of a well known publican by dangerous driving.

Thomas Benson died aged 36 after an Audi he was in crashed into a tree on Lever Park Avenue in Horwich on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

Now, nearly two years on Alicia Fairclough, 33, has been brought before Bolton Crown Court charged with causing Mr Benson’s death by dangerous driving, which she denies.

Prosecutor Neil Fryman said: “As I understand, the defence estimates that the trial will last for up to five days.”

The Bolton News: The trial is set to take place at Bolton Crown CourtThe trial is set to take place at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Brought into the dock on November 1 this week Fairclough, of Fairways, Horwich, spoke only to confirm her identity and to enter her pleas.

She pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and not guilty to causing death by driving while uninsured.

Peter Gilmour, defending, told the court that “the issue is both cause and causation".

The Bolton News: Tom BensonTom Benson (Image: GMP)

The Honorary Recorder for Bolton Judge Martin Walsh set a number of stage dates for over the coming months for the prosecution and defence to get their evidence in order before the trial takes places.

He ordered that Fairclough come back to court for a pre-trial review early next year on February 26.

Judge Walsh said: “The purpose of this is that by then any defence expert reports should have been served.”

He granted Fairclough unconditional bail until then and set a date for the trial to begin on November 25, 2024.

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Mr Benson had been well known around Horwich for his association with several pubs and bars around the town, having run White Tiger Bar and the Crux Emporium in Lee Lane, and cocktails firm Apotek Class.

Tributes were paid to Mr Benson by family members ahead of his funeral in December of that year, while an inquest into his death was opened at Bolton Coroners Court the following January.  

His mother Lydia, from Horwich, said her family was "blessed to have had him in our lives".

She said: "It is evident that he was truly respected, a friend to many; supportive and dependable."

She added: "We feel blessed to have had him in our lives and will ensure that his two children grow up knowing what a kind, considerate and loving daddy he was."