A driver who killed top Northern Irish road cyclist David McCall while rushing to catch a flight has been sent to prison for five years. During sentencing it was revealed that Michael Croome, 27, had two previous convictions for speeding and one for careless driving, the court was also told that he had been convicted of two further speeding offences after the incident in which Mr McCall was killed.
Michael Gerard Croome, 27, who has addresses in Belfast and Chester, had been 'driving aggressively' when he hit Mr McCall, a former Commonwealth medallist, and did not stop.
Sentencing him on Thursday at Antrim Crown Court, Judge Norman Lockie said he did not feel that during the trial Croome had shown any remorse for the death of Mr McCall, a 46-year-old father of two. Judge Lockie also told the court that a probation report showed that Croome does not accept the verdict of the jury and continues to deny his guilt.
However, defence lawyer Patrick Lyttle QC said that Croome wished to apologise to Mr McCall's family.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph afterwards Mr McCall's partner Helen Stewart said:
“I am glad the judge picked up on the lack of remorse”
“Croome has never approached me or the police or any members of the McCall family as far as I know to make any sort of apology.
“I am glad that was recognised in court.
“Life has just been hell without David. It is impossible to explain what it is like to anyone who has not gone through this. It is just hell.”
According to the BBC, Croome, described as a businessman with a number of retail outlets in England, Scotland and Wales, had denied causing the death of the Lisburn-based cyclist on 12 August 2008 by dangerous driving.
He had claimed that Mr McCall swerved to avoid a dog in the road and steered his bike into the path of his speeding 306 Peugeot as he passed a group of racing cyclists on the Belfast Road at Nutts Corner. The bike was smashed into two pieces and Mr McCall was thrown into the air.
Initially Croome did not stop at the scene but continued driving on to the Nutts Corner Roundabout. However he returned a short time later.
Mr McCall worked as a civil servant and also jointly ran Sportactive, which organises cycling and walking holidays.
He was a member of the Maryland Wheelers club in Lisburn and had won many cycling honours in Europe and Ireland.
His club have established a charitable foundation in his name.