A van driver who ran over and killed a cyclist knocked into his path after a passenger opened the door of a taxi has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to failing to stop at the scene and driving while over the legal limit for alcohol.
Sam Boulton died in hospital on 27 July last year, his 26th birthday, from injuries sustained at 1.20pm that day outside Leicester railway station when he was struck by a van driven by 50-year-old Nigel Ingram.
Earlier this month taxi passenger Mandy Chapple, was fined £80 after admitting the offence of opening a car door, or causing or permitting it to be opened, so as to cause injury in connection with the death of Mr Boulton.
The taxi driver, Farook Yusuf Bhikhu, has pleaded not guilty to the same offence and will stand trial at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court on June 5.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court was told that Ingram, who described himself as “a chronic alcoholic,” was three times over the legal limit when police breathalysed him after visiting his home at 4pm on the day of the fatal crash reports the Leicester Mercury.
Zabin Chauhan, prosecuting, said: "Evidence shows he was over the limit at the time of the accident. Mr Ingram said he is a chronic alcoholic who drinks every day.
"He said he only drank after the accident that day.
"He said he only left the scene due to shock and panic, and not because he was over the drink drive limit.
"He has accepted he was over the drink drive limit at the time of the accident – he did drink the previous day."
The court was told that following the collision with Mr Boulton, Ingram bought alcohol at a supermarket then returned home by foot. He spoke to his wife and mother on the phone, with both advising him to call the police.
Ingram was banned for driving for 28 months and given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and conditional on his attending a 12-week course for treatment for his alcohol addiction.
In mitigation, Eve Patterson said that her client being over the drink-driving limit was not a factor in Mr Boulton’s death, which she said was caused by “a series of tragic circumstances.”
She said: "His standard of driving that day did not lead to the accident, did not cause the accident and did not impact on it happening.
"Not only have a family lost someone important to them, Mr Ingram also has to live with the fact he was the driver of that vehicle, and that has had a deep and long lasting impact on him."
She told the court that since Mr Boulton’s death, Mr Ingram has suffered from depression and has had problems sleeping, and has also spoken to doctors regarding his abuse of alcohol.
She added: "It is also the case that since the accident, he has not driven and has sold the vehicle he used that day.
"This is due to the anxiety related to July 27. He can't face the prospect of something like that happening again."
A month after the death of Mr Boulton, hundreds of people, including the popular teacher’s fiancée and other family members, joined Leicester’s Critical Mass for a ride in his memory.
In October last year, Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby said that the city was considering introducing parking protected cycle lanes to the city after learning at a conference in the United States how they had helped reduce the number of cyclist being doored in places where they had been deployed.
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Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.